Afiq Yunos’ goal deep into extra-time sent 10-man Tampines Rovers of Singapore into the quarterfinals of the 2016 AFC Cup after their 2-1 victory over India’s Mohun Bagan in the Round of 16 at the Indira Gandhi Athletics Stadium in Guwahati on Tuesday night.
While neither side could make much headway in the first 45 minutes, the game exploded into life following the sending off of Tampines defender Shakir Hamzah nine minutes into the second half.
Shortly after the hour mark, Jordan Webb broke the deadlock for the Singaporean visitors before Bikramjit Singh levelled the scores in spectacular fashion on the 72nd minute.
But the final say went to 25-year-old Singapore defender Yunos who fired home with four minutes of extra-time remaining as Tampines got revenge for their 3-1 defeat at the hands of Mohun Bagan in the first preliminary round of qualifying for the 2016 AFC Champions League at the beginning of the year.
“Full credit to the boys, they fought on to the very end and came up with the win,” said Tampines coach V. Sundramoorthy.
“This game was not about revenge, it was more that we were much better prepared this time with more games under our belt.
“Jermaine Pennant was really good today, but then so were the other players. It was a team effort.”
Tampines were on top in the first half as former Liverpool and Arsenal winger Pennant proved a constant threat down Mohun Bagan’s left. In the 20th minute Fazawul Nawaz could only smash the Englishman’s cutback over the bar while Webb fired wide in the 43rd minute after being set up by the same player.
And the hosts woes were compounded by an injury to Trinidad & Tobago forward Cornell Glen at the end of the first half which saw him being replaced by Subhash Singh.
Subash did, though, have a golden chance in the second half as he went past three defenders but shot straight at goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud.
It was an error at the other end that resulted in the game’s first goal on 63 minutes, as Mohun Bagan goalkeeper Arnab Das Sarma could not prevent a mis-hit cross from Webb float over him and into the net.
Dhanachandra Singh had a chance to equalise minutes later but his header off a Raju Gaikwad was acrobatically saved by Mahbud. But Bikramjit Singh made amends for his compatriot in the 72nd minute in stunning style when he scored from all of 35 yards to equalise.
With the match tied at the end of 90 minutes it needed an additional 30 and it was the away side who prevailed in the game 116th minute.
In a training ground routine, Pennant’s free-kick was played across the area to the awaiting Yunos who made no mistake to take Tampines into their first AFC Cup quarterfinal since 2007.
“Yes it was unfortunate that we lost the game in extra-time, but I am happy with the effort the boys have put in,” said Mohun Bagan coach Sanjoy Sen.
“Cornell Glen’s injury hurt us in the first half but credit to Tampines. They really played well and took the game to us.”
by AFC Media