Kolkata giants and former champions Mohun Bagan AC, displayed a thoroughly professional performance at home to notch up a victory against bottom placed Shillong Lajong FC at the Saltlake Stadium on Sunday. Japanese midfielder Yuta Kinowaki opened the scoring for the home-team just two minutes into the second half and Ugandan frontman Henry Kisekka added a second in the 60th minute to seal three points for the green and maroon.
With this first home win of the 12th I-League season, Mohun Bagan move up to fifth on the table, level on points with third and fourth placed East Bengal and NEROCA FC respectively, two behind second placed Real Kashmir FC and three behind league leaders Chennai City FC.
Shillong Lajong FC remain bottom of the table after suffering their seventh loss in nine games.
Mohun Bagan made one change in their lineup as Eze Kingsley came back in defence after serving his suspension, in place of Gurjinder Kumar. While Alison Kharsyntiew, the Shillong Lajong FC gaffer, made three changes to his previous starting eleven. Key among them being Purbha Lachempa back under the Shillong Lajong FC bar in place of Neithovilie Chalieu.
Mohun Bagan dominated the first half and had around nine shots at goal to two for the visitors but could not get the breakthrough.
Cameroonian striker Dipanda Dicka got the first clear cut chance of the half in the 16th minute, when he chested down a cross from the left and shot for goal but Purbha Lachempa in the Shillong goal brought about a brilliant save.
Apart from Dicka, Kiseeka and Egyptian midfielder Omar El Husseiny were also guilty of missing gilt-edged opportunities in the half.
Mohun Bagan took the lead immediately on commencement of the second half. Two minutes into the half, Kisekka it was who started the build up from the left, passing to an overlapping Abhishek Ambekar further wide.
The diminutive left wing-back’s cross was cleared by the Shillong Lajong FC defence but only till the path of a lurking Yuta Kinowaki outside the box. The Japanese curled in a right-footer first time and it crashed into the back of the Shilong Lajong FC net, beating Lachempa all ends up this time.
It was a classy strike and Yuta’s first of the campaign.
Sankar Roy, the Mohun Bagan keeper, then brought about the save of the game six minutes late when a Samuel Lyngdoh effort from inside the box with the goalkeeper out of position and an empty net in front of him, was miraculously kept out by the Mohun Bagan keeper.
Mohun Bagan doubled their lead in the 60th minute through Henry Kisekka’s third of the campaign. It was veteran midfielder Mehtab Hussain, who had come on in the first half for an injured Sourav Das, with the long ball into the box this time which was cleared by Lachempa. Faiaz was first to the second ball and chested it down towards the path of Dicka on the left. Dicka took a goal bound strike but it deflected multiple times of the Shillong Lajong FC defence and eventually Kisekka muscled it into the Lajong FC net with his boot.