I-League: Mohun Bagan snap four-game winless run
Kolkata, Jan. 7 (IANS): City football giants Mohun Bagan got off to a winning start under new coach Shankarlal Chakraborty with a 2-0 victory over reigning champions Aizawl FC in an I-League match at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan here on Sunday.
The afternoon kick-off saw Aizawl’s Afghan defender Masih Saighani put the ball into his own net in the 53rd minute before Dipanda Dicka (75th) increased the lead for Mohun Bagan.
The result, which ended the hosts’ four-match winless run, saw them move up a rung to the fourth spot in the points table. Aizawl, meanwhile, remain sixth.
Mohun Bagan now have 13 points from eight games while Aizawl have 10 in their kitty from six outings.
Chakraborty, who was elevated from assistant to the head coach after previous incumbent Sanjoy Sen put in his papers last week, made as many as six changes to the Mohun Bagan line up with former Bengaluru FC player Cameron Watson making his debut for the green and maroon brigade.
Arjit Bagui also returned from injury while Kinshuk Debnath, Raynier Fernandes, Nikhil Kadam and Dipendu Dowary all started in place of Abhishek Das, Rana Gharami, Shilton D’Silva, Sourav Das, Azharuddin Mullick and Sheikh Faiaz.
At the other end, veteran footballer Shylo Masawmtluanga got his first start for Aizawl.
Aizawl looked good in the opening exchanges before their goalkeeper Avilash Paul came out of his line to clear the ball and injured himself in the process.
What happened next was hard to explain as Dipanda Dicka passed to Kadam despite an open goal gaping in front of him. By the Kadam thought of applying his finishing touches, Paul recovered and intercepted for a corner.
The best chance of the half came in the 38th minute when seasoned campaigner Syhlo Malsawmtluanga made a goalline clearance to deny Raynier Fernandes’ curling corner which Kingsley Eze tried to head in from entering the goal.
In first half stoppage time, Nikhil Kadam wasted a good chance after Ansumana Kromah set him up on the edge of the box, curling his effort wide.
The hosts nosed ahead in the second period albeit help from Aizawl’s Saighani who turned in a Ricky Lallawmawma cross into his own net.
Moments after the goal, Kromah saw a golden opportunity to double the advantage go a-begging as the post denied his header.
Aizawl’s Portugese coach Paulo Jorge Coelho Meneses injected fresh legs up front in the form of Yugo Kobayashi who replaced Alfred Jaryan as the visitors searched for an equaliser.
That was not to be as Dicka scored his fifth goal of the season in the 75th minute, dribbling past keeper Avilash after a long Kadam ball found the Cameroonian striker in the clear to push the ball into an empty net.
Towards the end of the match, Kromah picked up a knock and was replaced by Surchandra Singh.
Kadam had another chance to add gloss to the scoreline but failed to connect from a Faiaz cross. Tempers flared when Dicka clashed with Saighani as the match ended in the home team’s favour.