Mohun Bagan inch closer to I-League title with win over Sporting Clube de Goa
Bengaluru FC's draw hand Mohun Bagan the advantage in the title race
Barasat (West Bengal), May 23 (IANS)
Riding on a second-half double strike, table toppers Mohun Bagan got past Sporting Clube de Goa 2-0 to move closer to the I-League title here on Saturday. After a goalless first half, the green and maroon brigade shot into the lead in the 66th minute through Sehnaj Singh while Sony Norde put home another 11 minutes later at the Barasat District Stadium ground.
With 38 points from 19 games, Mohun Bagan are now three points clear of closest challengers Bengaluru FC, who have clinched 36 from 19 outings. The two teams would clash for their league wrap up match at Bengaluru on May 31.
Bagan went ahead from a free kick given by the referee after Cameroon striker Pierre Boya was brought down on top of the D. Sehnaj let loose a power packed shot that beat the wall and went into the net, as goalkeeper Ravi Kumar dived to his right but could not save the situation.
The security goal came in the 77th minute. Haitian Norde showed his class, getting past a rival defender and then shooting a grounder that went into the goal.
Bagan started the game really well
Sporting, however, were unlucky not to have scored in the early minutes of the second session. The league's highest paid footballer Odafe Onyeka Okolie let go a thunderous free kick from 25 yards, but it hit the bar.
In the first session, Mohun Bagan got a chance as early as the fourth minute, but Balwant Singh's effort was clocked by Sporting's Creson Antao, and Norde's rebounded went wide. Norde took another try from a corner, but Ravi Kumar fisted the ball out of harm's way.
Sporting were on the defensive for most of the opening half but got an opportunity in the 24th minute, courtesy a free kick from an advantageous position. But Odafa kicked it almost into the sky. Close to the first half break, the visitors muffed up a rosy chance, as Pratest Shirodkar fed an unmarked Odafe with a brilliant through ball, but the Nigerian's left footer sailed over.
Sporting began the second session with gusto, and got a couple of chances, but failed to convert them.
With the defeat, the Goans now occupy the seventh place with 20 points from 19 exchanges.