Kolkata giants and former champions Mohun Bagan, displayed a thoroughly professional performance at home to notch up a victory against bottom placed Shillong Lajong, at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan (VYBK) on Sunday. Japanese midfielder Yuta Kinowaki opened the scoring for the home-team just two minutes into the second half and Ugandan front man Henry Kisekka added a second in the 60th minute to seal three points for the ‘Green and Maroon’ brigade.
With this first home win of the 12th Hero I-League season, Bagan move up to fifth on the table, level on points with third and fourth placed Quess East Bengal and Neroca FC respectively, two behind second placed Real Kashmir and three behind league leaders Chennai City FC.
Shillong remain in last position 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 gaffer, made three changes to his previous starting eleven. Key among them being Purbha Lachempa back under the Shillong 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.
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 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 Lajong net, beating Lachempa all ends up this time.
It was a classy strike and Yuta’s first of the campaign.
Sankar Roy, the 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 Bagan keeper.
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 defence and eventually Kisekka muscled it into the Lajong net with his boot.
Full-time: Mohun Bagan 2-0 Shillong Lajong
69: Substitution Hardy Cliff Nongbri OFF Naorem Mahesh Singh IN
60: Goal! Henry Kisekka scores for Mohun Bagan
59: Substitution Samuel James Lyngdoh Kynshi OFF Sheen Sohktung IN
47: Goal! Yuta Kinowaki scores for Mohun Bagan
46: Substitution Azharuddin Mallick OFF Sheikh Faiaz IN
46: Second half kick-off
Half-time: Mohun Bagan 0-0 Shillong Lajong
45: Yellow card Aibanbha Kupar Dohling
31: Substitution Rakesh Pradhan OFF Allen Lyngdoh IN