Mohun Bagan Super Giant have opened their 2023-24 ISL season with a convincing 3-1 victory against ISL debutants Punjab FC in Kolkata on Saturday.
The Mariners started the game on the front foot and their persistence paid off when Jason Cummings found the back of the net inside the opening 10 minutes. Following the goal, they maintained their control of the game, while Punjab FC struggled to gain a foothold in the contest.
The much-awaited second goal arrived around the half-hour mark, as Liston Colaco teed Dimitri Petratos, who had a simple tap-in to score his first goal of the season. It was certainly a one-sided first half, with Mohun Bagan taking a well-deserved two-goal lead at the break.
But Punjab FC started the second half strongly and were rewarded for their efforts with a goal. Luca Majcen capitalized on a poor back pass by Glan Martins and slotted the ball past Vishal Kaith to reduce the deficit.
Despite the Warriors’ strong efforts, it was Mohun Bagan who re-established their two-goal advantage around the hour mark. A superbly executed low-driven cross from Petratos found Manvir Singh, who was clinical in front of the goal to extend the scoreline.
Mohun Bagan SG eventually secured a comfortable 3-1 victory to kick off their season with a valuable three points. However, it proved to be a challenging experience for Punjab FC, and with that in mind, let's assess the performance of their players.
Punjab FC player ratings
Kiran Chemjong [8/10]
Kiran was assured in goal and made a couple of important saves to keep the score down. He also did well in collecting crosses and was arguably Punjab FC’s best player in their first-ever ISL game.
Khaiminthang Lhungdim [6/10]
Lhungdim faced a challenging assignment, as he came up against Liston Colaco, but managed it effectively. Unfortunately, he had limited opportunities to contribute to the team's attacks due to Mohun Bagan's dominance.
Nikhil Prabhu [4/10]
Prabhu was sloppy in possession, often losing the ball in dangerous areas during the first half. His defensive performance was less than convincing, as he frequently found himself out of position.
Melroy Assisi [5/10]
Some of Assisi’s last-ditch defending was crucial to keep the scores down, Nevertheless, similar to his center-back partner, he struggled to handle the attacking threats posed by Cummings and Petratos as Mohun Bagan consistently found openings in Punjab FC's defense.
Mohammed Salah [5/10]
Salah couldn’t get forward a lot and had difficulties when he came up against Asish Rai, who constantly got the better of him on the right flank.
Madih Talal [5.5/10]
On his debut, Talal faced challenges in midfield and earned a yellow card in the first half, prompting a more cautious approach to the game. He was tidy in possession but failed to create anything noteworthy.
Asish Pradhan [6/10]
Pradhan tirelessly covered ground in midfield, as they were constantly overloaded in the middle of the park. It was a tough evening for the youngster in and out of possession.
Brandon Vanlalremdika [7/10]
Brandon was certainly one of the bright spots in Punjab FC’s opening game. He retained possession in tight spaces and made good movements in midfield. However, his final passes were inconsistent, as he struggled to pick out the forwards.
Juan Mera [6/10]
A lot was expected from this Spanish wizard, and while he showed glimpses of his potential, it wasn’t his day, despite an improved showing in the second half.
Prasanth K [5/10]
Prasanth was an anonymous presence on the right wing, and when he did receive the ball, his deliveries into the box often lacked precision.
Luka Majcen [7.5/10]
Majcen found himself isolated up front without much support. Nevertheless, he was consistently troubling Mohun Bagan’s defenders, showing excellent movement. His anticipation and ability to intercept a backpass led to Punjab FC's first goal in the ISL.
Mashoor Thangalakath [7/10]
Mashoor replaced Prabhu with over 20 minutes to go and was largely solid at the back.
Krishnananda Khundongbam [6/10]
He added stability to the midfield and kept the play moving, but did not do anything noteworthy.
Kingslee Fernandes [6/10]
Kingslee tracked back well but did not influence the game.
Ranjeet Pandre [6/10]
Ranjeet injected pace into the game, but he lacked service as Punjab FC failed to create chances.
Ricky Shabong [N/A]
Shabong arrived too late to mark.