In a crucial playoff game at Salt Lake Stadium, ATKMB cruised in the first half and had a 2-0 cushion in no time, with Williams scoring twice (6th, 30th).
The Australian completed his hat-trick with five minutes remaining but it came after much drama, even as the 32,000 or so crowd in attendance breathed a sigh of relief.
Hat trick hero!❤️#ATKMohunBagan #JoyMohunBagan #AmraSobujMaroon #MarinersInAsia #AFCCup2022 https://t.co/RtnvwgRa7L
— ATK Mohun Bagan FC (@atkmohunbaganfc) 1650381820000
The six-time Premier League champions Bangladesh, who looked lackluster in the first half, showed he was no pushover as he found his way back into the game with less than 30 minutes remaining.
Costa Rican recruit Daniel Colindres slid the ball easily past an off-field Amrinder Singh to close the gap.
Suddenly, the local favorites began to buckle under the pressure as Abahani made some promising attacks. Substitute Jewel Rana almost scored a goal from the right side of the box but his shot went just inches wide.
Moments later, Nurul Faisal rolled a cross from the left flank into Rakib Hossain’s box, but his shot went wide.
Mario Lemos’ side remained dangerous even as ATKMB’s Colaco and substitute Kiyan Nassiri squandered two easy chances.
With nothing standing in their way, it was France’s Hugo Boumous who produced a magic ball from midfield and the Australian charged into an open net to seal the deal.
This puts ATKMB in Group D of the AFC Cup Main Round along with Gokulam Kerala, Bashundhara Kings (Bangladesh) and Maziya Sports and Recreation (Maldives).
They will face Gokulam Kerala in their group opener on May 18th.
Earlier, the local giants had a big boost with a fit Amrinder Singh back in goal, who had a wobble, while Liston Colaco also returned to attack.
With Colaco back on the left wing, the urgency was evident right from the start as he initiated a very important move to set it up for an advancing Kauko.
The Finnish midfielder drilled a clear cross into Williams’ box, who slammed the lead home for the Mariners.
Colaco gained confidence after the early attack as he made some brilliant attacks from the left flank and gave the Abahani defense a tough time.
Prabir Das controlled the game from the right and almost put his shot into Kauko’s open goal, but his shot went over the bar almost at half-time.
It was Das who set up Williams with a long ball and the latter delivered his double as ATKMB looked unstoppable.
The home team led 2-0 at the break, but could have scored at least a few more goals by then.
“Beer maven. Creator. Tv fanatic. Internet scholar. Award-winning web junkie. Avid alcohol expert. Friendly writer. Gamer.”