Kind to Mumbai FC, cruel to Mohun Bagan --- that's how the I-League fortunes have been at the Barasat Stadium whenever the two teams have met. On Monday as Bagan toiled hard for most of the match, their opponents took away the three points, winning 2-1, the same margin by which the Mumbai team had beaten the hosts here in the last edition of the I-League.
This was also Mumbai FC's first win in the tournament so far. Things turned ominous for Mohun Bagan even before the match began. First-choice goalkeeper Sangram Mukherjee fell down and injured his right foot at the stadium's washroom, paving the way for Shilton Paul's late inclusion. The young goalie has been under pressure since his below-par performance in last Sunday's derby and it showed when in the first minute of the match, he found himself out of position.
A Subhas Chakraborty floater from the right was headed by an unmarked Mumbai FC striker Ahishek Yadav. Paul, who had come out of his line, flapped at the ball as it dipped towards his goal but could not stop it from going in.
Forty minutes later, Mohun Bagan let in another soft goal, courtesy Paul. Trying to collect a loose ball, Paul crashed into a retreating Sagram Mandi, spilling the ball and allowing Bashiru Mohammed to stroll in and score Mumbai FC's second.
In between though, the hosts were relentless in their attacks. Snehasish Chakraborty shone again as a left-side midfielder and set up the forwards with a number of opportunities. But Ishfaq Ahmed, playing as one of the strikers, was a big letdown. Edeh Chidi too had a bad day in office but the Nigerian never gave up trying.
Marcos Pereira again played a stellar role in the midfield but Mumbai FC stuck to their plan of setting up a stubborn defence, negating the veteran’s moves to a great extent.