Mariners setup Kolkata derby after the draw against Bengaluru FC

afc cup

Norde’s 2nd half strike cancelled out Alwyn George’s opener as both Mariners and Blues ensured themselves a semi final berth with Kolkata derby on cards for the semi-finals

Mohun Bagan seemed happy to play out a 1-1 stalemate against Bengaluru FC at the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack in the last encounter of Group B in the Federation Cup as both sides booked a semi final berth.

With semis place already booked, Mohun Bagan started with a series of changes as Sanjoy Sen went for a 4-3-3 formation with Jeje Lalpekhlua at front alongside Sony Norde and Kean Lewis with Katsumi Yusa manning the midfield. At the other end, Albert Roca brought back Amrinder Singh in goal while Lenny Rodrigues and Seminlen Doungel replaced Eugeneson Lyngdoh and Daniel Lalhlimpuia.

After a cautious first ten minutes, Bengaluru went into the lead in the 11th minute through Alwyn George trickery at the right end of the box managing to go past Subhasish Bose and with Kinshuk Debnath in no man’s land; the striker slotted his shot into the near post with Debjit Majumder’s dive coming too late. Blues soon grew in confidence as they created few more chances first Alwyn’s shot got deflected out for a corner before Sunil Chhetri managed to hit the post with a header from the resulting corner.

Also Read: DSK Shivajians downs Blues courtesy Quero’s brace

The Mariners slowly made their way into the game with Katsumi Yusa coming close to scoring with a header at the half hour mark that was well caught by a diving Amrinder. Minutes before halftime, Jeje volleyed a shot over the bar from the center of the box as both sides entered the tunnel with blues leading by a solitary goal.

On restart blues created the first chance when Seminlen Doungel chose to go for goal instead of playing on his fellow team-mates in space and sent it straight to a grateful Debjit. In the 50th minute, Sony Norde brought the game back to level terms when after beating Khabra with his trickery, he beat Amrinder with a low angled shot towards the far corner. Sunil Chhetri soon trudged out uncomfortably as the the veteran player seemed to pick up a niggle, Albert Roca replaced him with young Zaula taking no chances.

Both teams looked content to sit back after the goal and played out the remaining minutes with ease, with both having ensured qualification. Mohan Bagan had a chance late in the game that could have killed the blues hopes of making into the last four when Sehnaj slammed the ball from distance and Amrinder parried it away but only as far as Katsumi who was flagged offside as he attempted to kick the loose ball much to the relief of coach Albert Roca.

Bengaluru are all set to take on I league champions Aizawl FC in the first Semi final encounter on Sunday, while East Bengal and Mohun Bagan meet for a mouth-watering ‘Kolkata Derby’ in Cuttack in the final match of the night.

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