For all it is worth, Wednesday’s 3-1 win in the inconsequential 2017 AFC Cup Group E match gives Mohun Bagan the bragging rights over Bengaluru FC this season. They lead the head-to-head 2-1 with two games having ended in draws this season. Runners-up last year, Bengaluru FC now have to win against Maziya at home to qualify for the knockout stage of the AFC Cup.
Jeje Lalpekhlua has ceded his berth in the starting 11 to Balwant Singh who has been on song in the Federation Cup. Making the most of Sen resting his regulars — both teams made nine changes from their last games, the Federation Cup semi-finals — Lalpekhlua got to the end of a Raynier Fernandes chip and blasted home in the ninth minute at Rabindra Sarovar stadium.
The lead lasted till the 52nd minute when Seimenlen Doungel drove home from a distance beating Shilton Paul. Kean Lewis, who got injured while playing the AFC Cup qualifier in Colombo and hasn’t been a regular since, made it 2-1 in the 74th minute after beating Nishu Kumar with his turn and firing a left-footer that deflected off Gursimrat Singh giving Bengaluru FC goalie Lalthuammawia Ralte no chance.
With another long-ranger, Bikramjit Singh made it 3-1 in the 80th minute.
Mohun Bagan now have six points from five games. With nine points Bengaluru FC, who fielded an all-Indian 11 and brought only 15 players here, are second in the group after Maziya beat Dhaka Abahani 2-0 in the other clash in group E. But if Bengaluru FC win at home, they will progress on a better head-to-head record.