Mohun Bagan extend I-League supremacy with 1-0 win over East Bengal
Indian striker Balwant Singh's second-half strike enabled Mohun Bagan to conquer traditional rivals East Bengal 1-0 in the return-leg of the I-league football tournament at the Salt Lake stadium here on Saturday.
Kolkata: Indian striker Balwant Singh's second-half strike enabled Mohun Bagan to conquer traditional rivals East Bengal 1-0 in the return-leg of the I-league football tournament at the Salt Lake stadium here on Saturday.
The win extended Mohun Bagan's undefeated streak in the competition to nine matches and consolidated their supremacy atop the points table with 21 points from nine matches. East Bengal dropped a place to the sixth position with 13 points from nine matches.
A solitary goal from Balwant, in the 47th minute, was enough to secure full points but it was because of the outstanding goalkeeping from Debjit Majumder that Mohun Bagan held on for the win in front of a 45,000-strong crowd.
Two minutes into the second half Balwant found the target, with a regulation tap-in, after a shot from Japanese midfielder Katsumi Yusa was thwarted away in his path by a diving East Bengal custodian Subhasish Roy Chowdhury.
At the start, mundane initial action was brought to life by three quick opportunities for East Bengal, all of which were acrobatically thwarted by Debjit, denying Nigerian striker Dudu Omagbemi twice and midfielder Lalrindika Ralte once.
East Bengal were the dominant side in the first session and created several chances but they hit upon a wall named Debjit.
But the tide turned just after the breather. Yusa dribbled past his marker to unleash a strong right footer that was parried away by Subhasish but only as far as an onrushing Balwant who buried it into an unguarded net with his left foot.
East Bengal's response was quick through Nigerian striker Ranti Martins. But his commendable effort was spectacularly saved by Majumder a minute after the goal.
East Bengal's Dutch coach Eelco Schattorie swiftly introduced his substitute players, injecting more pace into his malfunctioning midfield, replacing Cavin Lobo with Ralte and Baljit Sahni with Shylo Malswamtulunga.
But it failed to produce the goal that East Bengal needed.
East Bengal intensified the pressure in the dying stages of the match and created chances to come on level terms but the nervous Mohun Bagan defence held on to pocket a crucial win.
In another I-League match on Saturday, Salgaocar FC defeated Mumbai FC 3-1 at the Nehru Stadium in Margao.