Indian giants Mohun Bagan AC were made to huff and puff by Colombo FC for a 2-1 win in the 1st leg of the AFC Cup qualifier played at the Race Course International Stadium.
The visitors came into the game as overwhelming favourites to romp to a win, but saw themselves pushed to the edge by Colombo FC where goals by Kean Lewis and Senhaj Singh either side of half time cancelled out Afis Olayemi’s leveller.
Mohun Bagan started the game as expected, absolutely controlling the game with the likes of Katsumi Yusa, Darryl Duffy and Senhaj Singh bossing the middle of the park.
In a David v Goliath encounter Colombo FC will take on Mohun Bagan AC in the 1st leg of the 2017 AFC Cup…
The Indian side created the first chance of the game as early as the 7th minute, when Katsumi had a shot cleared after Das crossed in from the right.
They scored shortly after the 13th minute, when Darryl Duffy’s run down the right saw Prabir Das freed up. Das then lofted the ball beautifully to Kean, who headed the ball powerfully past Mohamed Imran.
Katsumi nearly made it two a few minutes later, but saw his effort on target parried by Mohamed Imran.
Colombo FC then started to impose themselves on the game with Olayemi taking charge along with midfield powerhouse Momas Yapo.
Olayemi absolutely terrorised the opposition and his runs left his marker, Pritam Kotal trailing behind. The African created further chances for Chalana Chameera from distance and also Opayemi, where Chameera’s pile driver of an effort was punched away for a corner while Opayemi’s effort went just off target.
Olayemi finally managed to level terms for the home side on the 30th minute when he took on Bikramjit Singh down the right and then fired past a rooted Shilton Paul, much to the shock of the visitors.
There on till half time the hosts pounded the Mohun Bagan defense a few occasions but poor finishing denied them of a deserved goal or two.
Half Time – Colombo FC 1 – 1 Mohun Bagan AC
Both the sides started the game at a far slower pace than they did the first, with the effect of the heat and humidity clearly showing on both sets of players.
Mohun Bagan looked to play the ball out the back as much as they could, taking a low-risk strategy. Indian star Jeje Lalpekhlua who came on to replace an injured Kean Lewis in the first half was made to look like a pedestrian by the Colombo FC defense, especially Afeel Mohamed.
Despite a spirited Colombo FC outfit making a good account of themselves it was the away team who had the last laugh..
The home side continued to push on for a second goal and came close on multiple occasions through the likes of Zarwan Johar and E.B. Channa; both of whom headed just wide to gasps of the large crowd present.
Mohun Bagan continued to play with their slow build up and finally found a way through when Senhaj Singh shot an absolute thunderbolt into the roof of the net from just outside the box after Jeje had failed to control initially.
Colombo FC responded by bringing on both Mohamed Rifnaz and Mohamed Issadeen to try and turn the game in their favour, but saw their efforts fail as the Indian side preferred to sit back and wind the clock down to take the one goal cushion heading into the second leg in Kolkata.
Full Time – Colombo FC 1 – 2 Mohun Bagan AC
ThePapare.com Player of the Match – Senhaj Singh (Mohun Bagan AC)
Colombo FC – Afis Olayemi 30’
Mohun Bagan AC – Kean Lewis 13’, Senhaj Singh 70’
Colombo FC – Nagur Meera 32’, Momas Yapo 57’, Afeel Mohamed 90’
Mohun Bagan AC – Bikramjit Singh 68’