Bagan eye AFC Cup last 16 berth (Preview)

Male, April 26 (IANS) Brimming with confidence after a resounding 5-0 win over I-League champions Bengaluru FC, Indian football giants Mohun Bagan will look to book a place in the pre-quarterfinals when they face Maziya Sports & Recreation Club of Maldives in an AFC Cup contest here on Wednesday.

Bagan have bagged three of the four matches in the competition so far and would be aware of the fact that a point can see them through.

Maziya, on the other hand, are third in Group G with just one win from four matches. They are presently on five points, while Bagan are on 10.

The last time these two sides had met in the first-leg at Guwahati, Bagan had won convincingly with a 5-2 margin. Cornell Glen and Jeje Lalpekhlua had scored a brace each.

In their previous AFC Cup encounter, Bagan were held to a 1-1 draw by Yangon United. Glen had scored the equaliser in the 41st minute after Brazilian forward Adilson Dos Santos had put Yangon in front in the 25th minute of the game.

The result ended Bagan’s winning streak of three games in the tourney, but it was an impressive performance from Sanjoy Sen’s men as they were having a difficult time in the domestic league with four winless games.

The results in the domestic league came back to haunt them as they were dethroned and the crown taken over by Bengaluru but they ended on a high to finish second.

Bagan would ideally want a win and seal their place in the last 16 but then Maziya will be playing in front of their home crowd who will be egging them on.

Whether the likes of Sony Norde and Jeje can deliver the goods for Bagan one would have to wait and watch. The group leaders and second-placed teams of each of the eight groups will make to the last 16.

The Mariners have never qualified for the knockout round of the AFC Cup. They were knocked out in the group stages in 2007 and 2009.

–IANS

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