Mohun Bagan became the first Indian club to notch up a 4-0 win away in the AFC Cup when they thumped a 10-man South China AA here on Wednesday in group G. The I-League champions, who are also the country’s only team to have won a round in the new format of the Asian Champions League qualifiers, now lead the group with six points from two games and a goal difference of +7.
Having returned from injury in the 5-2 win against Maldives’ Maziya, Lenny Rodrigues opened the scoring at the Mong Kok Stadium with a header after goalie Leung Hing Kit punched a Katsumi Yusa free-kick into the 28-year-old medio’s path. The last goal too came off a Yusa free-kick which Jeje Lalpekhlua headed home.
Sandwiched between those goals were two more which stemmed from some superb combination play between Sony Norde and Cornell Glen. By then, South China were down to 10 men after defender Che Runqui had been shown the red card for two bookings in five minutes, the second in the 16th minute.
It was Glen’s pass that Norde latched on to and burst into an angular run into the penalty area ---- the Haiti international’s speed being too much for South China’s defenders --- before scoring with a far-post placement from an acute angle.
Norde returned the compliment, his slick give-go with Glen ending with the Trinidad and Tobago international making it 3-0 at the stroke of half-time. Glen and Lalpekhlua now have three goals from two games to be among the highest scorers in the competition. Norde missed getting a brace blasting over in the 62nd minute with an empty goal.
“It’s a very pleasing victory for us,” Mohun Bagan coach Sanjoy Sen told www.the-afc.com. “The players were positive from the very beginning and we played our attacking brand of football.”
Mohun Bagan play second-placed Yangon United in Guwahati on March 16 next, three days after hosting Mumbai FC in the I-League where too they are on top with 22 points from 10 games and are the competition’s only unbeaten team.