Ten-man Tampines score late to knock Mohun Bagan out of AFC Cup

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Guwahati, May 24 (IANS) Ten-man Tampines Rovers scored in extra time to beat Mohun Bagan 2-1 in an Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup pre-quarter final match here on Tuesday.

Afiq Yunus scored in the 117th minute of the match to enter the quarter-finals of the competition exacting sweet revenge on Mohun Bagan, who defeated them 3-1 in the preliminary round of the AFC Champions League qualifiers earlier this year.

The match went into extra time after finishing 1-1 at full time. The visitors’ 63rd minute strike from Jordan Webb was cancelled out by Bikramjit Singh nine minutes later.

Tampines were reduced to 10 men in the 53rd minute when defender Muhammad Shakir was red carded for a double bookable offence.

Tampines had the first attempt on goal, in the sixth minute. Ex-English Premier League star Jermaine Penant unleashed a crisp free-kick that was kept out by a desperate dive from goalkeeper Arnab Das Sharma.

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Das Sharma got his fingertips to it before the ball ricocheted off the bar.

Mohun Bagan, playing without several established first-teamers, took a while to get going.

They nearly scored off a corner in the 16th minute when India international Jeje Lalpekhlua’s deft header on the near post was cleared off the goal line.

Tampines gradually seized the initiative as they enjoyed greater ball possession.

Mohun Bagan’s game lacked the cohesiveness and fluency that enabled them to conquer the Federation Cup final 5-0 against Shillong Lajong FC.

Their attackers, Trinidadian Cornell Glen and Jeje were isolated upfront. To compound matters, Glen limped off with a knock in the 40th minute.

And their midfielders steadily retreated towards their penalty box to provide cover to an increasingly under-pressure defence.

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Pennant was dictating the flow of the game and Tampines should have gone ahead just before half-time because of his opportunistic, perfectly weighted through ball.

But winger Jordan Webb ran behind the struggling Mohun Bagan defence on the right flank but hastily shot wide of the far post trying to guide the ball past an onrushing Das Sharma.

His clumsy finishing ensured a goalless first half.

Mohun Bagan received a big boost early in the second half when Muhammad Shakir was red carded for a double bookable offence in the 53rd minute. Mohun Bagan’s Subhash Singh was also cautioned for the incident.

The numerical supremacy almost yielded to the first goal minutes later when Subhash danced his way past a host of defenders but the shot forced a save from goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud in the near post.

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That proved costly as Tampines punished Mohun Bagan on the counter attack three minutes past the hour mark when an attempted Webb cross from the right eluded the back-pedalling Dad Sharma’s elusive hand and sneaked in the far post top corner.

The disappointment of conceding an embarrassing goal spurred Mohun Bagan and evoked an immediate response drawing two reflex action saves from Mahbud.

But even his outstretched hand wasn’t enough to stop Bikramjit Singh’s sweetly struck long ranger from crashing into the net in the 72nd minute.

Bikramjit received the ball deep in Tampine’s half and then went on a authoritative run creating space for the right footer past the several blocking legs.

The match meandered into extra time and looked set for a tie-breaker till Yunus converted an intelligently taken free-kick to flatten Mohun Bagan.



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