Jeje's brace takes Mohun Bagan to AFC Cup group stage, will face Bengaluru FC next

Mohun Bagan rode on a Jeje Lalpekhlua brace -- he would also pressure the opposition defence enough to get them to concede an own goal -- to beat Club Valencia of Maldives 4-1 in the second leg of their AFC Cup playoff at the Rabindra Sarobar Stadium in Kolkata on Tuesday.

This gave Bagan a 5-2 win on aggregate and took them through to Group E of the AFC Cup main draw. They will now face Bengaluru FC in the first match of the group stages.

Bagan were given the perfect start thanks to a handball inside the Valencia penalty box from the first corner of the match, inside the first 50 seconds. Jeje would slot the ball low to the left of goalkeeper Mohamed Faisal to put the home side ahead.

Brazilian defender Eduardo Fereira missed two golden opportunities to score in a half dominated by Bagan, once in the 5th minute and again in first half injury time. Sandwiched between the two chances was a fantastic bit of poaching from Jeje in the 45th minute, when his marker tried to keep up with him as he looked to connect with a cross from the right on the half-volley and place it past Faisal, but ended up deflecting it into goal to give Bagan a 2-0 advantage at the break.

Valencia responded with an aggressive performance in the second half, and were awarded for their perseverance in the 52nd minute, when Nigerian striker Godfrey Omudu picked up a pass just inside the Bagan box and ran laterally past right-back Sarthak Golui and centre-back Anas Edathodika before scoring with a powerful right-footer.

Valencia had three further chances within the following 15 minutes, including one for Omudu which was blocked by Eduardo, and any one goal there could have allowed the visitors to gain the advantage with the extra away goal.

Those hopes were laid to rest in the 81st minute, when a Prabir Das cross from the right was converted by Jeje with a diving header. The rout was completed by Sony Norde, who looked lively after having recovered from a knee injury that saw him rested for the first leg last week in Male.