Rangdajied United FC finally shrugged off their winless run after defeating Kolkata giants Mohun Bagan AC 2-0 in the 12th Round of the I-League at the Saltlake Stadium in Kolkata on Sunday.
Manandeep Singh gave ‘The Blues’ a lead against the run-of-play in the 22nd minute before Eugeneson Lyngdoh scored the second in the 66th minute to ensure the historic win.
Coming in following the back-to-back draws after strengthening their squad, the Meghalaya side were confident of upsetting the Mariners as coach Santosh Kashyap made some surprising changes. He dropped youngster KC David Ngaihte and Joy Chandra, perhaps in a calculated move, to master a sweet revenge against the club that sacked him mid-way last year.
The host were the first to get a scoring chance when Subrata Pal failed to clear a back pass that fell on Odafa Okolie’s feet at the edge of the box. Odafa passed the ball to Eric Muranda and luckily for Rangdajied, the Kenyan was slow on his turn and the visitors survived.
The hosts however continued to press hard, Katsumi being the architect of those attacks. But soon, Rangdajied players settled down and in no time silenced the Mariners at the stand. It was Manandeep Singh again, who broke the deadlock when Yohei Iwasaki dribbled passed two defenders and found the former East Bengal striker inside the 6-yard box, who coolly slotted the ball home.
Bagan, having conceded came all guns blazing, seeking for the equaliser with Odafa Okolie taking most of the burden on himself. But time and again, Subrata Paul came to the rescue of his side and took them to the break with the lead intact.
Changed of ends saw the match starting in the same vein but this time Rangdajied had the first look at the goal. Manandeep took a sharp turn and unleashed a screamer which went straight into Sandip Nandi’s hand.
In between, the Green and Maroons made few inroads. But none was dangerous enough to trouble the defence or the keeper before Tomba Singh came up with another brilliant header, forcing Sandip Nandi to stretch full-length to keep the ball away.
Around the hour mark, Odafa failed to restore parity on two occasions. In a one-to-one challenge with Subrata Pal, the Spiderman dived brilliantly to snatched the ball before he failed to score in an open net in the second occasion.
But it was Rangdajied United all again in the 66th minute when skipper Eugeneson Lyngdoh stunned the Kolkata side. Kim Song Yong brilliantly built-up from the right and passed it on to Manandeep, whose back heal found Eugene unmarked inside the six yard box. The Rangdajied No. 10 had to just tapped the ball in.
Mohun Bagan initiated few more attacks after the 2nd goal and Odafa forced the former Mariner goalkeeper to come up with few brilliant saves that earned him the Man of the Match award.
With this win, Rangdajied United accumulated 8 points from 11 outings and are now placed 12th in the standing.
The team will now return home and host East Bengal on the 7th of December at the Jawaharalal Nehru Stadium.