ATK Mohun Bagan and Maziya Sports and Recreation Club returned to winning ways after their first round reverses to shake up the group D standings in the AFC Cup in Kolkata on Saturday.
In the day's first match, young India forward Liston Colaco scored a stunning hat-trick to help ATK Mohun Bagan beat Bashundhara Kings of Bangladesh 4-0 and keep their inter-zone semifinal hopes alive. Later in the evening, Maziya, who suffered a 0-1 defeat in their opening match, also remained in the hunt, defeating I-League champions Gokulam Kerala by a solitary goal.
In a must-win game after their defeat to Gokulam Kerala in the Group D opener on Wednesday, ATK Mohun Bagan's strong start was halted by strong winds and thunder showers that also damaged some parts of the Salt Lake Stadium.
The match was held up for close to one hour after 11 minutes into the first-half and the Mariners returned to blow away the Bangladeshi Premier League champions with Colaco's double strike in the space of nine minutes (25th and 34th). Colaco completed his hat-trick in the 53rd minute with a brilliant left-footed first touch, while David Williams came off the bench to seal a thumping win with his 77th minute strike.
Meanwhile Gokulam failed to convert their chances as Maziya struck the winning goal through their Vincentian recruit Cornelius Stewart (50'). They held onto their slender lead to log a full three points.
The two results opened up the group D standings as all the four teams have three points each and the final round clashes on Tuesday will determine the solitary berth available from group D for the AFC Cup Inter-Zone semi-finals. Gokulam Kerala will take on Bashundhara Kings, followed by ATK Mohun Bagan-Maziya fixture on Tuesday.
In the first match, a fit-again India central defender Sandesh Jhingan was back in action after a long injury layoff as the Juan Ferrando-coached side started off with a much positive intent after their opening round reversal. In the absence of Tiri who has been ruled out for seven months because of an ACL tear, Jhingan helmed ATKMB defence with Subhasish Bose and Pritam Kotal, even as there was little challenge from their opponents.
Jhingan did not have a perfect outing and almost let in a goal in the 83rd minute with a missed clearance but Bashundhara failed to grab the opportunity. The Bangladeshi Premier League champions were also unlucky not to have scored in the 19th minute when their captain Robson's strike came off the post from a free-kick. A defensive lapse from Bashundhara gave ATK Mohun Bagan the opening goal and the 23-year-old Colaco scored from a Carl McHugh's assist to open his account.
There was no looking back from there on and Colaco fired in his second goal, this time from Joni Kauko's clinical pass and the Goan forward just needed just a tap-in to double the lead. Colaco completed his hat-trick with Khaled Shafiei failing to clear an easy ball and Manvir Singh set it up from the right. Colaco also had a chance to score a fourth but the Bashundhara defence this time stood in his way. Williams then showed superb ball control to make it 4-0 minutes after he came in place for Kauko.