Mohun Bagan 3-2 Shillong Lajong Match Report
The Mariners came back from behind to beat Shillong Lajong FC by 3-2 and ensure themselves of a semifinal spot in the ongoing Federation Cup.
Earlier, DSK Shivajians downed Bengaluru FC by 2-0 – which threw the group wide open. Mohun Bagan are now sitting on the top of Group B with 6 points from 2 games. On the other hand, Shillong Lajong are on the bottom of Group B. Shillong Lajong are not out of the tournament but they would need a win against DSK Shivajians and hope Bengaluru lose against Mohun Bagan on Friday.
The biggest news of the day was that Aser Dipanda wasn’t ready to feature in this match as he is still recovering from his calf strain and Fabio Pena was handed a start by Singto. Alen Deory, Rocus Lamare, Bipin Singh and Nim Dorjee Tamang were left on the bench.
Debjit Majumder came in after serving his suspension. Sanjoy Sen didn’t tinker to his 4-4-2 formation and Jeje was left on the bench yet again.
The North-Eastern side opened the scoring in as early as the 3rd minute, courtesy of a Pritam Kotal own goal. Rupert Nongrum lofted the ball into the box from range towards Fabio Pena who was marked closely by Eduardo. The ball found Kotal’s right foot and the ball went straight into the net with Debjit Majumder left flummoxed over the course of events in a matter of seconds!
But their joy was short-lived as the Mariners found the equaliser within minutes after conceding the first goal. Darryl Duffy registered his name on the scoresheet with a calm left-footed finish in the 5th minute. After being released from the left side, Duffy made a run to force Kaith to come out of the box. Aibor too failed to keep up the line with the Scot and a novice mistake by Kaith in a failed attempt to clear the ball gave the Scot a golden chance to register his name on the scoresheet. Duffy slowly guided it in with a left-footer even before Chinglensana could attempt to clear it!
Shillong Lajong nearly got their second in the 7th minute when Issac ripped in a free-kick and a header by Fabio was almost going in except for Debjit to parry it away. However, the ball dinked off the post and Anas cleared it.
Mohun Bagan almost got their second goal of the night in the 14th minute but a goal-line clearance from Aibor kept the Green and Maroons at bay. Balwant layed it over to Katsumi, who forced Kaith to come forward. The Japanese man passed to Duffy who couldn’t get the ball in without the keeper in sight as Aibor came good with a block.
Vishal Kaith just couldn’t get his handling and positioning right as he needed three of his defenders to stave off danger near the goal mouth.
Mohun Bagan doubled their lead in the 27th minute when Sony Norde scored for the Mariners from a free-kick. Vishal Kaith had no chance as Sony slammed his delightful free-kick into the top right corner.
Mohun Bagan looked to be more interested in exchanging passes between themselves after getting their second goal and Lajong’s player were too clueless to do anything.
Vishal Kaith redeemed himself by pulling off four back to back saves in the 39th minute. He cleared away Duffy’s initial shot before clearing his rebounded shot too. For the third save he punched out of the incoming man from the rebound and then he slided off to kick the ball away from the box.
Mohun Bagan made it 3-1 in the 43rd minute and Katsumi Yusa who was on target this time. Balwant played Sony and he turned twice inside the box beating Shadap for a diagonal cross as Yusa, who beat Pritam Kumar glided the ball in with ease.
The second half began slowly with Bagan looking to sit on their lead. Prabir Das forced Kaith into a great save in the 54th minute to keep the North-Eastern outfit in check.
A goal-line clearance from Prabir Das in the 72nd minute denied the Reds from bagging their second goal of the night. Lajong got a corner and Chinglensana slammed it in but Souvik deflected and then Prabir, right in the edge of the goalline blocked it out!
Merely five minutes later, Sony was all alone inside the box and for a change, Kaith stayed on his line. Instead of going for a shot, he weakly crossed for Jeje but the defenders cleared it off! That was shocking from the Haitian given he had all the time and all the space to double his tally tonight!
Yuta Kinowaki found the back of the net in the 80th minute to reduce Bagan’s lead and make the scoreline 3-2. Alen Deory had all the space to go for glory himself but he was clever to pass it back to Kinowaki and he sends it straight with Debjit blinded by the presence of his defenders.
A clutch of chances fell to both teams as Bipin Singh for Lajong and Bikramjit and Jeje for Mohun Bagan failed to bury their opportunities. The Mariners will now play against Bengaluru FC in their last group fixture on Friday.