A Jason Cummings brace, with the second scored in added time, secured India’s Mohun Bagan SG a 2-1 win over Maziya Sports & Recreation of Maldives in Group D of the AFC Cup 2023/24 at the Saltlake Stadium on Monday, October 2.
The result means Indian Super League side Mohun Bagan lead Group D with maximum points after two matches with both Maziya and Bashundhara Kings on three points.
The home side had their first sight at goal in the 13th minute but Brendan Hamill’s header from a Cummings pass was well saved by Hussain Shareef.
Ten minutes later, Maziya’s Hamza Mohamed flashed a shot across the face of Mohun Bagan’s goal with Naiz Hassan just a step too slow to reach the ball.
Mohun Bagan’s continuous pressure paid off in the 28th minute, Hugo Boumous fed Cummings on the edge of the box and the Australian forward swiveled away from Sebastijan Antic before burying a powerful left foot shot into the bottom corner.
Maziya responded through a Tomoki Wada volley in the 35th minute which Hamill blocked with keeper Vishal Kaith scrambling across goal.
It could have been 2-0 for Mohun Bagan in the 41st minute but a penalty kick ruse tried by Cummings in passing the ball to Dimitrios Petratos was well intercepted by Antic.
Maziya took the opportunity to draw level right on the stroke of half time, Wada producing a thunderous shot straight down the middle of Kaith’s goal that was too hot for the Mohun Bagan custodian to handle.
Five minutes into the second half, Maziya’s Shareef was called into action again, producing back-to-back reflex saves to deny Armando Sadiku and Cummings as the hosts went in search of a second goal.
In the 58th minute, Sadiku found space outside the box but once again found Shareef to be a stumbling block, the Maziya keeper diving to his right to push the ball out for a corner kick.
The Maldives international continued his fine form in the 79th minute, tipping away Manvir Singh’s shot from distance, then got the better of Sahal Abdul Samad in a one-on-one situation just three minutes later.
But in the second minute of additional time, Shareef was finally beaten after Sahal threaded a pass for Cummings to make up for his penalty miss, netting with a sweet strike between the legs of the keeper to give Mohun Bagan the win.