KOLKATA: Mohamed Umair grabbed the only goal of the game as Maziya Sports and Recreation Club edge past Mohun Bagan 1-0 in 2017 AFC Cup Group E on Wednesday at Rabindra Sarobar Stadium.
The 28-year-old Maldives international found target in the 34th minute when he met a Abdulla Asadhulla pass and steered the ball past the Mohun Bagan keeper Shibinraj Kunniyil from inside the penalty box.
Following the win, Maziya move into second place in Group E with six points from three outings, three ahead of Mohun Bagan and three adrift of Bengaluru FC, with only the group winners progressing to the next round of the competition.
Mohun Bagan, who fielded an under-strength side without a foreigner in the starting XI, were immediately put under pressure by the islanders.
Maziya skipper Asadhulla fired wide in the early stages after being set up by Aleksandar Rakic, while for Mohun Bagan Balwant Singh looked as the best bet to open the scoring.
As the half progressed, Maziya continued to exert pressure on the Mohun Bagan defense and Asadhulla, Rakic and Ali Ashadh all threatened the rival goal with well orchestrated raids.
The Maziya goalkeeper Matiash Pavel made a rare save to deny Jeje Lalpekhlua midway through the first half and the same player came close again minutes later with a shot from a tight angle.
Umair’s opener stifled any Mohun Bagan momentum and the visitors continued to hold the upper hand, with Ashadh hitting a shot straight at Mohun Bagan defender Bikramjit Singh.
Maziya had a few more chances in closing minutes but couldn’t convert as the scoreline remained 1-0 going into the breather.
The hosts came out strong in the second half and began attacking from the word go. However, the Maziya defense managed to hold on and did not allowed their rival attackers to maneuver inside their territory.
After pushing up for a long time, Mohun Bagan created the best chance of the second half in the 59th minute. Souvik Chakraborty cut in from the right and with an intelligent ball sent Jeje clear on the left. The India international controlled the ball and tried to volley over the keeper but he was denied by a brilliant save from Pavel.
Midway through the half, Mohun Bagan introduced Katsumi Yusa and Azharuddin Mallick with seeking an equalizer.
Katsumi maintained the pressure with a shot just wide of the target, then Prabir Das found the side-netting with a volley from inside the box.
Meanwhile, Maziya suffered a blow when their Serbian defender Milos Kovacevic was sent off for a second bookable offense for a foul on Azharuddin outside the box in the 86th minute.
Mohun Bagan continued to push for an equalizer and came close again two minutes from time when Balwant was denied by a last ditch clearance by Ali Amdhan after he did well to get a shot on target.