Impressive Mohun Bagan finish their campaign with 1-0 win over Shillong Lajong
An impressive Mohun Bagan, registered a 1-0 win over Shillong Lajong, in their group B encounter. If it had not been for Vishal Kaith, the Shillong Lajong goalkeeper, Mohun Bagan would have run riot. The shot-stopper was rightly awarded the Hero of the match, as his performance was key to smothering an excellent Green and Maroon attack.
With both teams playing for pride and qualification not at stake, the managers decided to give proper playing time to their substitutes. Mohun Bagan lined up in what seemed to be a two man strike force with Jeje and CS Sabeeth leading their attacking line.
Wasteful Mohun Bagan fail to convert their chances
As expected, Mohun Bagan, worked with their quick passing and threatened Shillong Lajong's goal early on. Jeje, was constantly being found by Katsumi Yusa in the final third and in the eighth minute the Manipuri striker, sent a screamer just over the crossbar. Bagan's intent was clear, they were going for the win.
Jeje was again actively involved as he successfully dribbled past the Lajong defense, but lacked the necessary composure to finish his chance in the 12th minute. The trio of Jeje, Katsumi Yusa and Sonny Norde combined very well and continuously threatened Lajong's defense. Their attacking supremacy saw the Green and Maroon brigade being awarded a penalty in the 25th minute. Jeje, although calm and composed, missed the penalty that would give Mohun Bagan the lead.
Shillong Lajong's goalkeeper Vishal saved everything that came his way, and an example of that was when he made a brilliant diving save to deny Sonny Norde's stinger in the 26th minute.
The pairing of Sonny Norde and Katsumi Yusa came close to breaking the deadlock as the former's through ball was taken very well by the latter, but his shot went on to hit the post.
An attacking Mohun Bagan, finished the half with as many as five clear goal scoring opportunities created. Sadly, their inability to convert their chances, led them to go in at half-time with the scored tied at 0-0.
Bagan find the breakthrough in the second half
The second half was analogous to the first in terms of the fact that Bagan were on the attack. The team from Kolkata dominated the half, and were trying hard to find an opening. To thwart this, Shillong Lajong decided to put their entire team behind the ball.
Bhowmick replaced an off-color Jeje, who could have possibly scored a hatrick, with Balwant Singh.
Mohun Bagan, finally earned their breakthrough in the 74th minute, following a set piece. Sonny Norde's ball was not cleared properly by goalkeeper Vishal and the ball ricocheted into the path of Kinshuk Debnath, who comfortably slotted the ball home.
Although the margin of victory was very narrow, Mohun Bagan constantly attacked Shillong Lajong's goal and were more than deserved winners.