Mohun Bagan beat Mumbai FC 3-1 in their opening I-League encounter
Kolkata, Jan 18 (IANS) City football giants Mohun Bagan kick started their I-league campaign in some style, by comfortably outclassing a 10 man Mumbai FC 3-1 here at the Saltlake Stadium Sunday riding on a brace by talismanic Japanese midfielder Katsumi Yusa.
Yusa scored in both halves with Haitian Sony Norde also finding the back of the net once for the home side. Brazilian forward Joshimar da Silva did pull back a consolation goal for the losers but Kunal Sawant's red card at the fag end of the game did not help Mumbai's cause either, as they failed to make a comeback.
Bagan started with Balwant Singh and Sony Norde being paired up front in the absence of Pierre Boya who was injured. Mohammed Rafi and Josimar da Silva were handed the responsibility to score goals for Mumbai FC as they lined up in their usual 4-4-2 formation.
Two minutes into the game, Bagan had a chance to march ahead, but Norde's cross from a rival defender's back-header failed to reach Bagan's forward Balwant Singh and was easily collected by the Mumbai goalie.
At the other end, Bello Rasaq came to his side's rescue as his timely clearance denied Rafi's headed effort in the sixth minute.
In the 13th minute, Bagan took the lead through the boot of Yusa. Norde found Singh on the right who controlled it and then laid it in the path of Yusa who chested the ball before slotting it into the net without much difficulty.
Silva equalised seven minutes later as a Rahul Bheke throw found its way to the forward who nodded it past Shilton Paul, Bagan's custodian to draw level at 1-1. However, a mistake from Mumbai defender Justin Stephen at the 25-minute mark allowed Norde to collect the ball and slot it past the goalie to surge into the lead 2-1.
Silva came close to scoring the equaliser again, but his left-footed shot was denied by the post 10 minutes from half-time. Bagan led 2-1 at half-time in a very good match.
After the breather, Yusa dribbled past a few players and squared it for Norde, but the cross was intercepted in time by Stephen. Yusa scored his second of the game in the 69th minute after Manish Bhargav sent in a brilliant low cross from the right for the medio, who placed it in the back of the net.
Sawant was given his marching orders by the referee two minutes from the final whistle as he came off his line to handle the ball outside the box to deny Singh a chance to score.