Asier Pierrick Dipanda, Akram Moghrabi and Sheikh Faiaz scored the goals for the Mariners.
Mohun Bagan put on a spectacular performance as they grabbed a stylish 3-0 victory against hosts Shillong Lajong at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Shillong tonight (February 3, 2018).
Asier Pierrick Dipanda (30′), Akram Moghrabi (86′) and Sheikh Faiaz (89′) scored the winning goals for the Kolkata side to leapfrog their arch-rivals to the third spot on the table with 20 points from 12 outings.
Sankarlal Chakraborty opted to hand Azharuddin a start on the right wing whereas he deployed Nikhil Kadam on the opposite side.
Right from the get-go, Mohun Bagan were eager to assert their dominance on the field as they hit the pedal ignoring the cold evening weather. Though Shillong Lajong tried to get to the same level, they ended up playing defensive throughout most of the time during the match.
By the 20th minute, Lajong were starting to regain composure as they began to correctly anticipate their opponents’ moves. By this time, Mohun Bagan were finding it difficult to hold onto ball possession which kept depriving them of chances to score an advantage.
However, Mohun Bagan broke the deadlock in the 30th minute from former Lajong player Asier Pierrick Dipanda Dicka whose brilliant header of a spectacular delivery from Watson sent the ball past Lajong goalkeeper Lachenpa straight into the back of the net.
Towards the end of the first half, Shillong Lajong came close to the equaliser time and again but eventually, Mohun Bagan maintained their lead. Mohun Bagan also made their first substitution in the 44th minute with Sk. Faiaz replacing Azharuddin Mallick.
Shillong Lajong’s best chance in the first half came in the dying minutes of the first half when Lajong’s Samuel Lalmuanpuia sent a volley which would have found the back of the net had it not been put away by an acrobatic save from Mohun Bagan goalkeeper Shilton Paul.
The second half of the game got off to a fast start as both teams headed into the game with renewed energy after the break. However, Mohun Bagan’s earlier goal had given the team the confidence they needed to keep the game in their pocket.
A fast-paced second half did not help the hosts as they tried desperately to gain an equalizer which only resulted in a back and forth game with their determined opponents.
The Cote D’Ivoire-based striker Koffi could have found the back of the net but his mistimed header went astray, much to the dismay of the Lajong supporters.
However, the dying minutes of the game saw back-to-back goals from the travellers to swing the game away from the hosts.
Akram Moghrabi doubled their lead in the 86th minute which was a beautiful calm finish by the Lebanese after the ball was dished out to him on a platter by Raynier who came on in the place of Cameron Watson.
Any hope by the hosts of salvaging a point from the game was blown away three minutes later when Sheikh Faiaz scored Mohun Bagan’s third goal in the 89th minute which was indeed the nail in the coffin.
Having bagged all three points from Shillong defying all odds, high-flying Mariners will now head to Coimbatore to take on Chennai City on 7th February whereas Lajong will face the league leaders Minerva Punjab FC same day.