I-League: Mohun Bagan return to top of the table with 2-0 win over Royal Wahingdoh FC
Mohun Bagan AC returned to winning ways with a 2-0 win over Royal Wahingdoh FC in the I-League at the Barasat Municipal Stadium on Wednesday evening. Sanjoy Sen made five changes from the side that was beaten by Sporting Clube de Goa over the weekend. Shilton Pal started in goal, while Jeje Lalpekhlua joined in attack with Balwant Singh.
Royal Wahingdoh had a full strength squad on show, and lined up in a 3-5-2 formation with Naoba Singh and Lalchawnkima as the wing backs. Kim Song Yong started upfront, supported by Jackichand Singh and Seityasen Singh on either side.
In the 8th minute, the ball was set-up nicely for Sehnaj Singh to have a go from just outside the box, but he could only smash it wide. Sony Norde only managed to put it high and wide from inside the box after Mohun Bagan broke with four men, in the 16th minute after Jeje failed to pulled the trigger.
Two minutes later, Katsumi Yusa was the intended target of a Sony Norde cross but fell down in the box under the challenge of Lallawnzuala but the referee was not interested. The away side had their best chance three minutes after the half hour mark when Lallawnzuala's cross from the left was received well by Kim in the box but some last minute pressure by Bello Rasaq, made him scuff his shot wide.
The Mariners took the lead practically out of nothing, as a regulation cross towards the far post by Pritam Kotal from the right, sneaked into the net. Goalkeeper Nikhil Bernard failed to anticipate it altogether as the ball landed up in goal in spite of him getting a hand to it, in the 37th minute.
Both the Mohun Bagan forwards were guilty of wasting chances before the first half wound up. First it was Jeje who got at the end of a Balwant Singh cross but good defending from Reagan Singh prevented him from pulling the trigger. It was followed up by Balwant Singh failing to find the target on two occasions. First he had his shot from the right saved by Bernard while he scuffed it completely from close range with only Bernard to beat.
Shilton Pal came to Mohun Bagan's rescue about eight minutes after the restart pulling off back to back saves with Jackichand finally putting it wide. The home side came into the game after the hour mark. First Sony Norde spinned expertly on the ball before his shot from just outside the box was saved by Reagan Singh who put his body on the line.
In the 63rd minute, after Katsumi Yusa was brought down in similar position, Sony Norde doubled the advantage after his free-kick took a deflection off the wall to end up in goal, leaving Barnard flat-footed. Bekay Bewar had a golden opportunity after coming on to get a goal back for the away side after exchanging an one two with Jackichand before surging into the box. With Shilton coming off his line, he could only scuff his shot wide. Following a Godwin Franco free-kick, Loveday was desperately unlucky as his header looped up and came off the crossbar.
The tempo slowed down in the dying minutes of the match, as the Mariners sauntered their way to top of the table.
The win takes Sanjoy Sen's side to 35 points from 18 matches, exactly equivalent to compatriots, Bengaluru FC but they recapture top spot thanks to a better head-to-head.