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Mohun Bagan in comfortable win against Chennai

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The Mariners won their fourth game in a row...

Mohun Bagan registered their fourth consecutive win in I-League against debutants Chennai City at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Saturday night, courtesy of goals from Jeje Lalpekhlua and Sony Norde. The win takes them to the top of the table with Chennai dropping to seventh despite scoring their first goal of the season in the 2-1 loss through Marcos Vinicius.

Chennai gaffer Robin Charles Raja recalled trusted goalkeeper Karanjit Singh in light of the Indian international recovering from a minor injury that kept him out of the defeat to DSK Shivajians. New signing Edwin Sydney Vanspaul eanred his City debut whilst his Tamil Nadu teammate Prasanth Karuthadathkuni and Yumnam Raju Mangang were handed their home debuts.

The Mariners started the game on the front foot, bombarding crosses into Chennai’s penalty area. Although they created chance after chance, prompting nervous clearances from Chennai defenders, the first clear-cut chance of the game came when under-22 player Subhasish Bose made a defense splitting forward pass to Norde. The Haiti international tried chipping an onrushing Karanjit, but the effort failed to even be on target as Dharmaraj Ravanan and co. looked on.

The home side responded quickly with a goalscoring chance when Dhanapal Ganesh set up Vinicius, who only had Debjit Majumder to beat, but a poor touch from the Brazilian striker meant he tripped over himself to hand Mohun Bagan the control over the game again. Sanjoy Sen’s personnel continued to test Karanjit, who had to make half a dozen saves in the first 15 minutes of the game, with Katsumi Yusa, Darryl Duffy and Norde making Chennai defenders look training cones.

Despite Mohun Bagan keeping most of the ball, Chennai grew into the game as they emerged a threat on the break as evidenced by a superb counter-attack on 26 minutes. Tank shrugged off midfield pressure to find Charles de Souza, who dribbled ahead of every travelling player only for Majumder to come off the line to restrict the Brazilian to a shot straight at him.

A quick counter-attack from Mohuan Bagan on 32 minutes saw Duffy spray a perfectly-weighted forward pass to Norde, who forced a foul from Joseph Clemente inside the penalty box. Norde took the resulting penalty, but Karanjit ensured Chennai held on as he read the shot perfectly, diving to his right. Jeje, however, headed the ball into Karanjit’s net after receiving a Souvik Chakrabarti cross four minutes later only for the flag to go up.

Chennai managed a goalless first half against the I-League juggernauts but were unfortunate to lose who often rendered Yusa innocuous in skipper Ravanan six minutes before the half-time whistle to an injury, with veteran midfielder Denson Devadas replacing him.

Yumnam was shown the first yellow of the game on 16 minutes as he struggled to contain pacy Yusa, giving away a freekick just outside the Chennai penalty area. Referee Rowan Arumughan added Haroon Amiri to his books for bringing down Duffy toward the end of the first half.

Tank surprised everyone — after producing a lacklustre first-half display — when he beat Majumder from a tight angle after robbing Eduardo Ferreira off the ball on 53 minutes. Mohun Bagan, however, responded quickly with a clumsy goal from Chennaiyin striker Jeje, who flicked Norde’s cross past a hapless Karanjit.

Twenty minutes into the second half, Duffy made way for Balwant Singh whilst Edwin, who had received treatment earlier in the half walked off the pitch one minute later, with Abhishek Das replacing him. As Chennai proceeded to gain control over the game, Mohun Bagan brought on Prabir Das in the place of Souvik on 75 minutes to shake things up.

Norde sealed the game for Mohun Bagan on 77 minutes when he made a mockery of Chennai right-back to dribble 30 yards before hitting the far corner, much to the delight of the vocal travelling supporters. Chennai had a glorious opportunity to equalize moments later, but Charles failed to put the ball into the net from six yards out.

Local hero Raegan Albarnas was brought on with 10 minutes left, with Tank being called to the bench. Chennai continued to test Majumder through Ganesh, Charles and Devadas until the final whistle, but their only I-League goal in 360 minutes turned out to be the only positive aspect of their game as they continued to lack chemistry.

 

Published: Sat Jan 21, 2017 09:20 PM IST

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