I-League: Mohun Bagan down champs Aizawl FC, win after four rounds
Mohun Bagan move to fourth spot as new head coach Sankarlal Chakraborty’s tenure got off to a good start with a win after four rounds in the I-League.football Updated: Jan 07, 2018 18:53 IST
A self-goal and one from Dipanda Dicka that may have been scored from an off-side position helped Mohun Bagan beat defending champions Aizawl FC and return to winning ways in the I-League after four games, at Salt Lake stadium here on Sunday.
After eight rounds, Mohun Bagan have 13 points and they moved up to fourth place, two rungs above Aizawl FC, who stayed tenth.
“It was good to get a win but the good work across all departments will need to continue,” said Sankarlal Chakraborty after his first match as head coach.
Aizawl FC proved difficult to break down but Mohun Bagan went in at half-time as the team that looked more likely to score. They would have had Shylo Malsawmtluanga not headed out Kingsley Eze’s header, off Raynier Fernandes’ corner-kick in the 38th minute, from the goalline.
Aizawl FC goalkeeper Avilash Paul’s barreling into Dicka too could have been costly but Dicka and Nikhil Kadam exchanged one pass too many and that helped him retreat and clear the danger.
Playing his first match in over two months, Australian Cameron Watson added some much-needed purpose to the Mohun Bagan midfield and was among the six changes Chakraborty made after their last match ended in a 1-2 defeat to Chennai City FC and had Sanjoy Sen stepping down as coach.
One of the changes, Dipendu Dowary, though had to be taken off in the 30th because he couldn’t get the left side going and, as the coach said, was losing possession. And though Mohun Bagan played more on the ground than they did against Indian Arrows and Chennai City, the others, barring Fernandes and Kadam to an extent, too didn’t distinguish themselves.
Maybe that was because the team was thin on confidence. That changed somewhat after Masih Saighani’s self-goal in the 52nd minute. It came after Mohun Bagan had strung together a sequence of passes started by Fernandes and involved Kadam and Ansumana Kromah before Ricky Lallawmawma overlapped and played into the goalmouth.
“The plan was to deliver balls on the ground because trying to win aerial duels would have been difficult given that their central defenders were taller,” said Chakraborty.
“That goal was unlucky but gave them, a big team that they are, a lot of confidence,” said Aizawl FC coach, Paulo Menezes.
From then on, Mohun Bagan dominated and found the second goal in the 75th minute with Dicka rounding the goalie after Kadam found him with a ball that sailed over Kareem Omolaja Nurain.
“Did you see the second goal? The Mohun Bagan striker was five metres off-side,” said Menezes. Television replays showed he had a point.
“Aizawl FC have been denied four penalties in the I-League,” said Menezes.
His team though lacked bite. Barring a 35-yard cannonball from Kareem Nurain that thudded into the horizontal in the 14th minute and Lalthathanga Khawlhring going over in the second half, Aizawl FC didn’t really look threatening.