Jose Barreto partially mitigated a season during which he missed four penalties with an early strike on Sunday. The tireless Seuoka Ryuji, who set that up, then worked down the right to find Snehasish Chakraborty for the easiest of tap-ins as Mohun Bagan ensured that against East Bengal, they had an all-win record this season.
During both goals, East Bengal’s defence was a mess. Harmanjot Khabra was left trailing when Ryuji’s ball reached Snehasish and the central defenders too far away to initiate damage control efforts.
Yusif Yakubu’s injury-time push after sidling past Surkumar Singh was too little too late. For Sunday evening at least, the smiles were back at Mohun Bagan. They now have 36 points from 25 games. East Bengal stay on 29 after 24.
Channeling most of their efforts down the right, Mohun Bagan asked East Bengal’s backline more questions than the 1-0 scoreline at half-time would suggest. Edeh Chidi and Ryuji kept left-back Saumik Dey busy, their task made easier by an East Bengal midfield that, barring Mehtab Hossain, couldn’t track back adequately to weld with the flat back-four.
It took Ryuji one minute to make up for shooting into the side-netting after Barreto and Chidi had prised open East Bengal’s defence. Controlling a ball from the middle, he went wide taking B. Beikhokhei with him before floating a measured ball meant for Barreto. With Mehrajuddin Wadoo out of position and Khabra behind him, the Brazilian headed Bagan in front. Even if they weren’t as compact as Bagan, Sanju Pradhan and Bhaichung Bhutia, the latter more so, did add enterprise to EB’s initiatives.
Result: Mohun Bagan 2 (Barreto,Snehasish) bt East Bengal 1 (Yakubu)