I-League: Mohun Bagan go four points clear with win over Salgaocar FC
Trinidadian striker Cornell Glen scored a brace as Kolkata giants Mohun Bagan kept their title defence on track with a 3-1 victory over Salgaocar Football Club in an I-League encounter at the Tilak Maidan Stadium here on Saturday.
Glenn (30th, 45th minutes) gave Mohun Bagan a decisive advantage just before the break after the talented Jeje Lalpekhlua (13th) had handed the visitors the early advantage.
Darryl Duffy (71st) reduced the margin for Salgaocar in the second half.
Mohun Bagan thus extended their lead at the top the points table. They are now on 21 points from nine matches, four points ahead of second placed East Bengal, who have a game in hand.
Salgaocar slipped to the bottom of the nine-team table with five points from nine matches.
As they have throughout this year's tournament, Mohun Bagan started the match on an attacking note. The passing was slick and penetrative, and the visitors' attacking line-up of star winger Sony Norde, Glen, Jeje and Yusa Katsumi kept the Salgaocar defenders on their toes.
The defending champions almost scored in the second minute when Jeje found Glen clear on goal with an accurate. The Trinidadian managed to outfox the rival goalkeeper but his attempt went narrowly wide of the far post.
Jeje opened the scoring for the West Bengal side
Mohun Bagan enjoyed the lion's share of possession, holding on to the ball quite comfortably. They made their domination count when Lenny Rodrigues beat his marker to a Norde pass inside the Salgaocar penalty box. Lenny's shot was blocked by Salgaocar goalkeeper Karanjit, but the rebound fell to Jeje who bulged the net with a well placed attempt.
The visitors continued to dominate and doubled their lead off a corner. Norde curled the ball in from the corner and Karanijt's attempted clearance only went as far as Katsumi. The Japanese midfielder's shot took a deflection off Salgaocar defender Eder Monteiro and landed favourably for Glen who made no mistake.
The second goal seemed to stir the hosts into action and they came up with a sustained period of pressure on the Mohun Bagan defence. But they were left licking their wounds when the defending champions caught them unawares with a fast counter-attack just before the break.
Lenny's pass found Glen just outside the hosts' penalty box and the striker finished off the move with a superb attempt.
The tempo wore off a bit in the second half although Mohun Bagan still continued to dominate possession. The Kolkata outfit continued their tendency to concede late goals when Duffy capitalised on some slack defending to head in a cross from Jackichand Singh.
The match saw some late drama when Salgaocar's Gilbert Oliveira was sent off for hitting out at Bikramjit Singh following a rough tackle.
Despite being reduced to 10 men, the hosts managed to avoid conceding any more goals although the Mohun Bagan forwards forced a couple of close calls.