ATKMB qualify for knockouts of AFC Cup after 1-1 draw with Bashundhara Kings
Male (Maldives), Aug 24 (PTI): ATK Mohun Bagan qualified for the knockout stages of the AFC Cup following a 1-1 stalemate with Bangladesh champions Bashundhara Kings in a Group D match here on Tuesday.
The Indian club made the inter-zonal semi-final of the second tier continental tournament as South Asian Zone champions.
Brazilian midfielder Jonathan Fernandes (28′) put the Bangladeshi side ahead in the first half before team-mate Sushanto Tripura (45+2′) was sent off at the stroke of half-time.
Assisted by a Liston Colaco cross, Australian forward David Williams (62′) scored the equaliser to make Bagan group toppers with seven points as the Kings finished second with five points.
The Kings were reduced to 10 men in the stoppage time of the first half when their right-winger Tripura was shown a red card.
This was the first time since 2018 that an Indian team has made the zonal semi-finals. Bagan will play the winners of Uzbekistan’s Nasaf and Turkmenistan’s Ahal on September 22.
ATKMB needed a win or a draw against Bashundhara to go through while the Bangladeshi outfit required a win.
Bagan struggled at the start against the pressing game of a determined Kings and the latter gained control of the match when Fernandes struck one from the edge of the box giving the rival goalkeeper Amrinder Singh no chance.
Both teams had a few chances in the first quarter.
Searching an equaliser in their quest to avoid elimination, Bagan found one after the change of ends when the Kings appeared to be on the defensive with a man down.