Mohun Bagan’s loss against Shandong was expected: Bhutia

Kolkata, Feb 2 (IANS) Former Mohun Bagan striker and India captain Bhaichung Bhutia on Tuesday said Mohun Bagan’s 0-6 loss against Shandong Luneng in the Asian Football Confederation’s (AFC) Champions League qualifying second round encounter was expected.

It was Mohun Bagan’s first appearance in the second round of the tourney 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. Mohun Bagan defeated Tampine Rovers 3-1 in the first qualifying round here at the Salt Lake stadium on January 27.

“It was expected (6-0) result. Shandong are a good side and they have some top players in their squad. They are also financially sound so they can afford such players. The difference of quality between the two sides was noticeable on the pitch,” Bhutia told the media here.

Bhutia, who had also plied his trade with Mohun Bagan’s arch-rivals East Bengal, believes the signing of French defender Bernard Mendy would help the Calcutta Football League (CFL) champions in the ongoing I-League.

“Mendy is a good signing. It will help East Bengal immensely. But they cannot slip any further in the I-League as Bagan and Bengaluru are already fighting it out at the top, without giving away an inch,” he said.

East Bengal are currently fourth on the points table with eight points from five games.

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