Mohun Bagan loses while Odisha FC makes an incredible comeback: AFC Cup 2023
Odisha FC mounted an incredible comeback against Maldives’ Maziya Sports & Recreation in their Group D AFC Cup away match at the Maldives National Stadium on Tuesday. In a must-win game to keep their hopes alive for advancing to the next round, the Juggernauts faced an early setback by conceding two goals. Naiz Hassan (2’) and Vojislav Balabanovic (26’) scored for the hosts. However, Sergio Lobera’s side displayed resilience and fought back in the second half, with Mourtada Fall (65’), Diego Mauricio (72’), and Roy Krishna (85’) all contributing to secure a remarkable 3-2 victory.
The hosts started the game aggressively and found the back of the net quickly. The Odisha FC defense momentarily stood still, allowing Naiz Hassan to capitalize on the opportunity and put the hosts ahead. The home side continued to apply pressure and was awarded a penalty in the middle of the first half following a reckless challenge from Fall. Serbian forward Balabanovic made no mistake from the spot, doubling their lead.
Maziya’s defense held firm against Odisha FC’s attacks for the remainder of the first half and the opening quarter of the second half. However, the Juggernauts regained their momentum with Fall finding the back of the net from an Ahmed Jahouh corner. Seven minutes later, Brazilian forward Mauricio headed home the equalizer from another Jahouh set-piece.
The Indian Super League (ISL) side continued to apply more pressure in the remaining minutes of the second half and found the winner through Roy Krishna, as the Fijian dribbled past a defender to complete the remarkable comeback for Odisha FC.
With this victory, Odisha FC now occupies third place in the Group D table with six points, while Maziya is in fourth place with three points.
In another AFC Cup match, Mohun Bagan Super Giant faced Bashundhara Kings and suffered their first defeat in the tournament. The game took place at the Bashundhara Kings Arena in Dhaka on Tuesday. The Mariners took the lead in the opening half with Liston Colaco’s goal in the 17th minute. However, the hosts equalized just before the end of the first half when Miguel Figueira scored a brilliant goal in the 44th minute. Robinho secured the winning goal for the home side in the 80th minute, adding excitement to the group table.
The game started with both sides testing each other’s defenses in the early minutes. In the 17th minute, the Kings’ goalkeeper failed to catch Jason Cummings’ cross, and Colaco made a sweet connection on the rebound to put the visitors ahead. Minutes later, Dorielton Nascimento had a great opportunity to level the score, but the Brazilian ballooned his effort from inside the box. Mohun Bagan SG continued to break the opposition’s defense on the counter-attack, and in the 34th minute, the Kings’ keeper made a terrific double save to keep his team in the game.
As the first half was coming to an end, Kings looked more desperate, and in the 44th minute, Didier set up Figueira, who rattled the net with a superb strike on a half-turn. The home side dominated the entire second half, launching a string of attacks.
At the hour mark, Robinho burst through the MBSG defense and played it forward for winger Rakib Hossain, who drew a save from Vishal Kaith with his effort. Bashundhara Kings intensified their attacking strength as the game progressed in the second half, and in the 80th minute, Dorielton laid off for Robinho, who calmly placed the ball in the back of the net to secure three crucial points for his side.
Following this result, both Mohun Bagan Super Giant and Bashundhara Kings have seven points from four games in the tournament.
Looking ahead, the Mariners will face Odisha FC in their penultimate AFC Cup 2023-24 Group D match at Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan on November 27. Meanwhile, Bashundhara Kings will take on Maldives’ Maziya Sports & Recreation Club in their next encounter.
The AFC Cup continues to provide thrilling and unpredictable football action, with teams competing fiercely for a chance to progress to the next round. The recent matches involving Odisha FC and Mohun Bagan Super Giant showcased the resilience and determination of the participating teams, making for an exciting tournament for football enthusiasts.
In the first match, Odisha FC demonstrated an extraordinary turnaround after falling behind by two goals early in the game. Facing a do-or-die situation to keep their hopes of advancing in the tournament alive, the team showcased remarkable character and determination. They had a challenging start as they conceded two early goals to Maziya Sports & Recreation.
Naiz Hassan opened the scoring for the hosts just two minutes into the match, taking advantage of a momentary lapse in the Odisha FC defense. The early setback added to the pressure on the visiting team. Things went from bad to worse when Serbian forward Vojislav Balabanovic converted a penalty in the 26th minute, doubling the host’s lead.
The Maziya defense held firm for the rest of the first half and a portion of the second, frustrating Odisha FC’s attempts to mount a comeback. However, the Juggernauts were not ready to give up. They regrouped in the second half and started to regain their footing in the game.
Mourtada Fall was the catalyst for Odisha FC’s comeback, as he found the back of the net in the 65th minute, providing a glimmer of hope. Diego Mauricio further fueled the resurgence with a goal in the 72nd minute, drawing his team level. The momentum had shifted, and Odisha FC had the wind in their sails.
The climax of the match came in the 85th minute when Roy Krishna, the Fijian forward, displayed his class. He dribbled past a defender to score the winning goal, completing a sensational comeback for Odisha FC. This victory kept their dreams of advancing in the tournament alive.
The match between Mohun Bagan Super Giant and Bashundhara Kings was equally enthralling. Mohun Bagan SG took the lead in the first half, with Liston Colaco finding the back of the net in the 17th minute. The early lead gave the visitors a sense of control over the game. However, Bashundhara Kings were not to be outdone.
Just before the end of the first half, Miguel Figueira produced a moment of brilliance for the home side. His goal in the 44th minute drew the match level, leaving fans on the edge of their seats. The stage was set for a tense and exciting second half.
In the second half, Bashundhara Kings increased their attacking efforts, looking for the go-ahead goal. The pressure paid off in the 80th minute when Robinho calmly slotted the ball into the back of the net, securing a vital victory for the home side.
With these results, both Odisha FC and Bashundhara Kings have strengthened their positions in the group standings. The tournament remains wide open, with every team vying for a chance to progress to the next round. The upcoming matches promise more action, drama, and thrilling moments for football fans to savor.