Shillong, Feb 3: Mohun Bagan claimed a full three points in a 3-0 victory over Shillong Lajong at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here on Saturday.
Aser Dipanda scored against his former side in the 30th minute to give Bagan the lead. The goal came about for the Mariners after some sustained pressure at the end by the hosts. After winning a corner, taken by Cameron Watson, Dipanda sprung forward and headed the ball in facing little opposition.
Akram Moghrabi then doubled the lead in the 86th minute assisted by substitute Raynier Fernandes before fellow sub SK Faiaz added another in the 89th by powering the ball into the back of the net to demoralise the majority of the 4,600-strong crowd.
Victory means that the Kolkata giants move to third place, tied on 20 points with East Bengal, but in front thanks to a better head-to-head record.
There was little to report on in the first 10 minutes other than that Lajong goalkeeper Phurba Tempa Lachenpa floored his own team mate, Laurence Doe, in the first minute. This was Lachenpa’s first match back in goal after Nidhin Lal had replaced him in the prior two games.
The real action began from the 10th minute onwards when Bagan’s Rana Gharami pulled Saihou Jagne down around the penalty arc area, but Samuel Lalmuanpuia’s free-kick went way over the bar.
A minute later Jagne forced the opposition keeper Shilton Paul into making a good block in the following 15 minutes there was a series of fouls committed on Lajong. SLFC got perilously close in one of the resulting free-kicks, when Bagan cleared a ball off the line.
Dipanda’s goal then certainly relieved the pressure on Bagan and from then on they displayed better ball control and anticipation, while the Reds’ touches were a shambles.
The last bit of action in the first half saw Lalmuanpuia go for goal from 10 yards outside the box off a free-kick and this was put out brilliantly by Paul. Referee Rahul Kumar Gupta did not allow the corner kick to be taken, however, as by that stage we were already well past the stated one minute of stoppage time.
After changing ends, Lajong almost got the goal they were looking for in the 47th minute when a delightful Rakesh Pradhan cross into the box was headed inches over the bar by Abdoulaye Koffi.
The stadium was then thrown into a bit of a panic a short while later when a collision between Oh Juho and Daniel Odafin saw the former writhing in pain on the pitch, necessitating the ambulance being readied. However, he managed to pick himself up and carried on.
Mohun Bagan were a touch quiet in the second half, but Dipanda almost turned provider in favour of Watson (reversing their roles from earlier on), but his chip into the box had a little too much weight on it and Lachenpa collected easily.
Defeat means that Lajong have only won two out of their last nine fixtures, signs of a definite slump after a promising start to the season. They remain fifth in the standings.