Millennium Post

AFC Champs League: Shandong Luneng smother Bagan 6-0

Shandong Luneng smothered current I-League champions Mohun Bagan 6-0 in an Asian Football Confederation’s (AFC) Champions league qualifying second round encounter at the Jinan Olympic Centre here on Tuesday.

Yang Xu scored a brace (55th minute, 68) while the others were netted by Walter Montillo (23), Diego Tardelli (40), Zheng Zheng (76) and Wang Yongpo (88).

From the very beginning the hosts had a strong hold over the game in temperatures which were around -10 degrees Celsius. Mohun Bagan found it difficult to move, let alone create opportunities.

After being tied down for the first 20 minutes Shandong finally broke the deadlock as Montillo let one fly off his left foot. The strong shot went in after hitting the crossbar, evading the outstretched hands of Mohun Bagan custodian Debjit Mazumder.

There were more attacks, thereafter on the Mohun Bagan citadel but somehow the defenders were able to keep the likes of Tardelli and Montillo at bay. But at the 40th minute mark it was former Brazil international Tardelli’s turn to smash the ball in.

After latching onto a ball from the right the Brazilian skipped past a defender to put his strong shot into the net.

At the break, the hosts were leading 2-0. Sanjoy Sen’s men started on the right note in the second half passing the ball around and trying to feed Sony Norde upfront but after some time the hosts regained control.

Xu scored his first of the afternoon, picking up a pass from Tardelli and curling it with his right foot beyond the reach of Mazumder. This attempt too went in after hitting the underside of the bar.

Around 13 minutes later Xu struck again to make it 4-0 for his side.

By then Mohun Bagan knew their fate had been sealed, their shoulders drooped and nothing seemed to transpire for them on the attacking front.

Zheng scored a few minutes later to add to the visitors woes and if 5-0 wasn’t enough humiliation Wang scored two minutes from full time to hammer the final nail in the Bagan coffin. Shandong Luneng will take on 2008 tournament finalists Adelaide United in the playoffs for the group stage. Shandong and Adelaide United will go head-to-head at the Hindmarsh Stadium in Adelaide, Australia, on February 9.

Mohun Bagan earned the right to face Shandong after defeating Singapore’s Tampines Rovers 3-1 in a first round qualifier on January 27.

It was Mohun Bagan’s first appearance in the second round of the tournament compared to their opponents’ eighth trip to the tournament since 2005. Mohun Bagan will now play in the AFC Cup, the second tier competition of the continental body.

They have been clubbed in Group G of the competition along with South China (Hong Kong), Yangon United (Myanmar) and Maldives’ Maziya.

They will begin their campaign with a home match against Maziya on February 24.
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