ATK Mohun Bagan continued their winning run in the AFC Cup 2021 with a 3-1 victory over Maziya Sports and Recreation Club at the Maldives National Football Stadium in Male on Saturday.
The Mariners came back from a goal down to win the crucial encounter, with Roy Krishna, Liston Colaco and Manvir Singh getting on the scoresheet.
With the win, ATK Mohun Bagan are back on top of Group D with six points. They had defeated Bengaluru FC 2-0 on Wednesday.
The Mariners now only need a draw in their next match against second-placed Bashundhara Kings on August 24, to advance to the inter-zone semi-finals.
ATK Mohun Bagan were clearly the dominant side in the starting few minutes and kept Maziya’s goalkeeper Mirzokhid Mamatkhonov on his toes.
Just five minutes into the game, Fiji international Roy Krishna found the back of the net from a Manvir Singh cross but was deemed offside.
However, it was Maziya who drew first blood after a swift counterattack resulted in an easy tap-in goal by Aisham Ibrahim in the 25th minute.
The opening goal saw Maziya take control of the game and the Maldivian side almost doubled their lead three minutes later.
On the other end, Liston Colaco had a few opportunities but could not find his way past the defence and even had a set piece punched away by the Maziya keeper.
The Maldivian club went into the break with a 1-0 lead.
The Mariners’ coach Antonio Lopez Habas subbed in Ashutosh Mehta for Sumit Rathi in the second half – a move that proved impactful immediately.
In the 48th minute, Liston Colaco made amends for his earlier missed opportunities and scored with a brilliant header from a cross by Ashutosh Mehta.
ATK Mohun Bagan found their rhythm after the equaliser and scored their second goal 15 minutes later. This time, Roy Krishna found the back of the net after Liston Colaco’s attempt was blocked by the Maziya keeper.
The Indian side continued pressing their opponents and sealed the match with their third goal in the 77th minute.
Manvir Singh scored the third after second-half substitute Hugo Boumous opened up the Maziya defence with an incisive through ball.
A late surge by Maziya could not breach the Mariners defence and the Indian club sailed to a 3-1 win.
Earlier, Bengaluru FC drew 0-0 against Bashundhara Kings, ending their hopes of progressing in the AFC Cup.