A goal each from Jose Barreto and Baichung Bhutia helped Mohun Bagan to a comfortable 2-0 victory over Chirag United in the i-League at Yuva Bharati Krirangan on Saturday evening. Both the goals were scored in the first half to ensure an emphatic finish for the Kolkata Premier League champions.
Mohun Bagan secured an emphatic victory over Chirag United today by 2-0 in an I league match held in Kolkata. Displaying sheer dominance right from the start, the Karim Bencherfia boys never gave any chance to United SC and made it a no-contest, banging in both the goals by 30 minutes at the Yuba Bharati Krirangan (YBK) at Salt Lake here today. The old magic of Barreto and Bhaichung Bhutia did honours for Mohun Bagan who thus registered six wins the trot, with their first one coming against reigning champions Dempo SC, which the Brazilian had termed as the "turning point" in their I-League turnaround.
A short corner from Marcos Pereira set up Mohun Bagan’s first goal in 14th minute, as Malswamtluanga floated the ball into the box and a lurking Barreto leapt high and did not have to produce a powerful header but deftly he put it across the opponent’s goalkeeper for Mohun Bagan to go 1-0 up.
In 30th minute, Baichung scored the 2nd goal, one of the best goals of this edition of I league. Tulunga got hold off the ball in the midfield and passed it to Lalkamal whose through pass was brilliantly chested down by Barreto. Barreto lobbed the ball decieving one defender and came up with a fine and well-calculated back header which was found by Bhutia. From the side volley, Mohun Bagan captain produced a sharp right footer which was enough to deceive United SC custodian Gopal Das. A brilliant goal resulting from the Baichung-Barreto combination.
In the first 45 minutes, the mariners negated their opponents’ left flank, rendering winger Snehashish Chakraborty useless. Right-back Habibur Rehman man-marked Snehashish, leaving the winger with no room to operate. Chirag coach Subrata Bhattacharya was forced to effect a couple of changes in his side as early as in the 33rd minute — R. Dhanrajan for Subhashish Roy Chowdhury and Shankar Oraon for skipper Lalmalswama Hamar after Mariners went ahead by 2 goals.
The second-half was just a regulation play for Mohun Bagan who dropped in the intensity, already assured of three points from their good work in the first 45 minutes. As expected, Chirag started playing rough football, and Barreto and Rakesh Masih were injured. Later Barreto, Masih and Marcos were booked by the referee. Rakesh Masih will miss the next match against Mumbai FC when I league starts after break on January 23rd, the match will be played in Mumbai.
Striker Shankar Oraon squandered two relatively easy opportunities towards the end of the match. First, he shot straight to keeper Shilton Paul just three yards from the target off a Gouranga Dutta corner. Moments later, Gouranga again set it up from the right and on this occasion too, Oraon headed wide. Mohun Bagan got a easy chance on injury time of 2nd half when Marcos positioned nicely with the ball outside Chirag box but his shot went over bar post.
Barreto was adjudged Man of the Match. With today’s victory, the Green-and-Maroon brigade retain second spot of the table with Sporting Clube de Goa at the top and now has 18 points from 11 matches.
Meanwhile, the Salt Lake Stadium will host only the two semifinals and final of the Federation Cup. According to an All India Football Federation release, the minor changes in the fixtures of the December 4-21 tournament were necessitated due to non-availability of the stadium before the semifinals, slated for December 18. The final will be held on December 21. All group matches will now be hosted by Barasat. Mohun Bagan will play their matches on December 12, 14 and 16 against Oil India, Vasco and Air India respectively.
SHILTON, HABIBUR, ODAFE, VASHAN, MOHANRAJ, TULUNGA, RAKESH, MARCOS, LALKAMAL (ISHFAQ 72), BAICHUNG (LALAM 81), BARRETO (JUNIOR JAMES 88)
PICTURE COURTESY: BARTAMAN PATRIKA, TRIDIP, SOUMYADEB SINHA