David Williams completed his hat-trick in the final five minutes to ensure the Kolkata-based club a second successive appearance in the tournament proper, where they will be joined by I-League champions Gokulam Kerala FC, Bangladesh winners Bashundhara Kings and Maldives’ top side Maziya Sports & Recreation in Group D.
Following their impressive Preliminary Stage performance where they beat Sri Lanka’s Blue Star SC 5-0, ATK Mohun Bagan took the lead as early as the sixth minute when Williams volleyed home Joni Kauko’s cross.
Abahani’s defence was caught lacking again in the 29th minute when Williams beat the offside trap to connect with Prabir Das’ superb cross and beat goalkeeper Shahidul Alam Sohel to make it 2-0.
Hoping to make their first appearance in the group stage since 2019, Abahani had a brighter performance in the second half, and managed to pull one back at the hour-mark through Daniel Colindres’ crackling strike from outside the box.
The Bangladesh Premier League side threw bodies up front in their search for the equaliser, but ATK Mohun Bagan capitalised on the open spaces in the 85th minute with Williams completing his hat-trick.
The action began with Hugo Boumous’ through pass to Williams that caught the Abahani backline off guard, and the former Socceroos forward rounded past Sohel before slotting into an empty goalmouth.