I-League: Mohun Bagan stunned by 10-man Chennai City FC at home

Playing with 10 men for 56 minutes, Chennai City FC hit twice on the break to notch up second win of I-League, this time against Mohun Bagan.

football Updated: Jan 02, 2018 23:47 IST
Dhimar Sarkar
Dhimar Sarkar
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
Mohun Bagan,I-League,Chennai City FC
Chennai City FC players celebrate their first goal against Mohun Bagan during the I-League match in Kolkata on Tuesday.(Samir Jana/HT Photo)

For Chennai City FC, the moment when Kyrgyz defender Veniamin Shumeiko soared to conquer would be frozen in time. A little over one year in the I-League, they sent Mohun Bagan to their first defeat of the 2017-18 edition.

And they won 2-1 on Mohun Bagan ground playing with 10 men for 56 minutes.

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Soosai Raj’s 71st minute corner-kick sailed into the goal area and Shumeiko leapt highest and over Rana Gharami, who had replaced Kinshuk Debnath as central defender in Tuesday’s starting 11, to score Chennai City FC’s second goal. Before injury-time in the second half, the crowd had started leaving and many of those who stayed asked for coach Sanjoy Sen to go. Murilo Almeida could have made it 3-1 but his shot thudded into the framework.

Chennai City had forged ahead in the fifth minute through Jean Michael Joachim and underscored that penetration, not possession, wins games. They trailed in every match statistics barring the one that matters most.

Combined effort

But their foreigners --- Shumeiko at the back, strikers Almeida and Joachim and goalie Uros Poljanec --- and Soosairaj were the best players on the pitch.

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After seven games, Mohun Bagan stayed on 10 points and Chennai City FC moved to seven from as many games.

Some 10,000 voices roared in unison as Kromah slotted home, making it two successive games where Mohun Bagan scored from the penalty spot, in the 36th. The scores were level but in terms of manpower, Mohun Bagan were ahead with a little under an hour to go after Pradeep Mohanraj was shown the red card for handling a ball that was headed towards goal by Shilton D’Silva.

It neutralised Joachim’s early goal that seemed to have sucked the life out of those supporters. They had come hoping for a turnaround in the New Year and found themselves sucker-punched. Seconds earlier they were gasping in disbelief that a back-heel from Kromah was a shade too long for Dipanda Dicka.

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Joachim banged an angular delight that gave Shilton Paul no chance after Almeida hulked over Sourav Das and dispossessed the under-22 central midfielder. The forward from Timor-Leste galloped down the middle, and as two defenders converged, he found Joachim in space who scored his fifth goal of the I-League. Das was left rattled and Mohun Bagan were forced into bringing on Surchandra Singh in a like-for-like substitution in the 25th minute.

After berating his team for hopeful aerial balls against Indian Arrows, Mohun Bagan played with a lot more purpose. Most of the attacks were channeled through the right. And soon after the goal, Kromah had rattled the horizontal after Abhishek Das and Sheikh Faiaz had combined to find the Liberian, who fired on the turn. Then, Mohanraj had to clear his line with a header after Faiaz had got to the end of a Surchandra free-kick.

Minutes later, he was shown the red card, but for the second time in as many games, Mohun Bagan couldn’t make their superiority count. Worse, this time they capitulated.

First Published: Jan 02, 2018 23:14 IST