I-League: Bagan beat East Bengal 2-1
Kolkata: Jose Ramirez Barreto and Snehashish Chakraborty helped Mohun Bagan register a 2-1 win over arch-rivals East Bengal in the return-leg of the I-League at Yuba Bharati Krirangan.
Barreto gave Mohun Bagan the lead in the 15th minute while substitute Snehashish struck in the 84th minute.
Yusif Yakubu, who missed chances aplenty, reduced the margin for East Bengal during the injury time (90+3).
Bagan now have 36 points from 25 matches, while East Bengal remained on 29 points from 24 matches.
Bagan dominated the proceedings from the start with East Bengal defenders finding it tough to tackle the likes of Barreto and Ryuiji Sueoka who was adjudged man of the match.
Sueoka impressed with his agility from the right flank, even as he missed the open net to let go a chance for his side to take the lead in the 12th minute.
Barreto sent a centre to Edeh Chidi, the four-goal hero of their last encounter, but the Nigerian`s header deflected from East Bengal goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu`s hand. An advancing Sueoka then missed the chance managing only to bang the outside of the net.
Bagan soon brought the fans onto their feet when Sueoka got it right this time as his centre was brilliantly capitalised by Barreto, whose header went in.
East Bengal were soon to forge a counter-attack but Yakubu messed up a brilliant opportunity just near the goal.
In the 16th minute, from an Alvito D’Cunha supply, Yakubu deceived two Mohun Bagan defenders but only to miss the target.
Bhutia being benched, East Bengal’s forward line-up missed the spark as they were not able to convert the easy chances.
Bagan’s Sheikh Azim fouled just outside the box but Yakubu continued his inglorious run, this time missing the free-kick that went inches over the bar.
Struggling to find their rhythm, coach Philippe de Ridder finally brought in Bhutia, in place of captain Syed Rahim Nabi with 30 minutes remaining.
In the 63rd minute, Abel Hammond brought down Sueoka just at the edge of the box to be awarded a free-kick in favour of Mohun Bagan but Marcos failed to clear the human-wall.
Bagan almost doubled the lead in the 76th minute when Surkumar Singh’s angular shot was beyond the reach of the East Bengal custodian but in the end it found the post.
Coming in place of Ishfaq Ahmed, Snehashish sealed the issue with a right-footer in the 84th minute.
It was Sueoka who set it up for a surging Snehashish who flicked in his right-footer as East Bengal defender Harmanjeet Khabra was reduced to a mute spectator.
With the frenzied East Bengal spectators throwing missiles, Yakubu gave the side some joy in the end when he nudged the ball in from a Sanju Pradhan cross in the dying minutes.