Antonio Lopez Habas, the head coach of ATK Mohun Bagan, has returned to Spain, his home country after the Indian club reached the inter-zonal semifinals of the AFC Cup on Tuesday. The players, too, have time now to recharge before they go on the field again on September 22 for the semi-final against Uzbekistan club FC Nasaf. ATK Mohun Bagan has played three AFC cup games in the Maldives and were through to the inter-zonal semifinals unbeaten after their game against Bangladesh’s Bashundhara Kings on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, ATK Mohun Bagan will be skipping the CFL Premier Division A, and have officially informed the Indian Football Association (AFA) about their decision. The club was scheduled to play against George Telegraph on Sunday. While players are resting for two weeks before the September 22 match, seven of them will return to India to join the national camp for two friendlies against Nepal early next month.
The Mariners started their AFC cup journey against Bengaluru, and successfully defeated the Blues 2-0 on August 18. Their next mission in the Maldives was against home team Maziya Sports and Recreation. Trailing by a goal in the first half, the Kolkata-based club made a comeback in the second half with captain Roy Krishna, Manvir Singh and Liston Colaco scoring a goal each. The team won 3-1.
Coach Habas said that he was proud of his players for a remarkable comeback against Maziya. “We had some difficulties with the opponent because they scored first. After a change of system, we became consistent and I’m very proud of my players,” Habas was quoted as saying by the-afc.com after the match.
After their win against Maziya, ATK Mohun Bagh simply needed a draw against Bashundhara Kings to enter the semis, which they did, but Habas had said that his team does not play for draws irrespective of the situation.