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CLOSE GOAL: Mohun Bagan’s Papa Diwara celebrates after scoring his team’s opening goal against Churchill Brothers at Fatorda on Saturday.

Mohun Bagan slow start, enough to maul Churchill Brothers 3-0

Fatorda: Churchill Brothers FC conceded a goal in the 9th minute; dominated the remainder of the first session only to allow Mohun Bagan score two more in the second session and return home 3-0 victors of the I-League at the Nehru stadium in Fatorda on Saturday.

Watched by the biggest and most vociferous crowd of the competition in this season, Churchill Brothers FC played entertaining football in the first session, with five clear opportunities to restore parity, but, inability to convert from far and a resolute Bagan defense saw the teams go for the breather with a goal separating the two.

Mohun Bagan scored in the ninth minute when Papa Diwara capitalised in a goal mouth mele – borne out of a corner – to score the opening goal. However, the story thereafter saw Churchill taking the role of a star but with no goal.

Churchill coach Bernardo Tavares had to start with Ponif in the centre of the defense as Robert Primus was unavailable. The change worked limitedly as Lamgoulen Hangshing who took Ponif’s place on the left, did not play badly, but could not rise to the standard set by the latter.

Hangshing defended well but when it came to running forward, he was unable to dribble inside the rival box and thus opted for the long cross in from predetermined spots on the flanks, making anticipation easy for the Bagan defenders.

Churchill Brothers first clear chance to restore parity came in the 25th minute when Willis Plaza, who was sent through, got around Mohun Bagan goalkeeper Sankar Roy but his cross to the centre was not well controlled by Mapuia.

Churchill kept mounting pressure and it looked like Dawda Ceesay had equalised for Churchill Brothers in the 30th minute when his shot from the right beat the Bagan keeper only to ricochet out of play after hitting the horizontal.

Willis and Dawda were again in the thick of action, two minutes later, when Dawda played Willis through after a nice one to one only for the latter see his strike kiss the side bar before rolling out of play.

With Churchill attacking relentlessly – Glan Martins and Quan Gomes keeping the ball in possession, Bagan defended resolutely with Francisco Martinez and Joseba Gomez Corta denying the Churchill lads room to score from far.

Mohun Bagan created their first opportunity to consolidate their margin in the 40th minute when Papa crossed in from the right only for Suhair Vadakkepeedika unable to tap the ball in with the Churchill defense completely beaten.

The winners got their next chance of the first session three minutes later when Ashutosh Mehat crossed the ball in for Papa but Churchill keeper Sukhadev Patil was quicker to the ball, to avert danger.

Socrates Pedro of Churchill Brothers – who won the man of the match – in the last game was rather quiet in the first session and made his presence felt at the start of the second session when his header hit the horizontal before going out of play.

Mohun Bagan coach Jose Ochandorena brought in Komron Tursunov at the start of the second session and the introduction of the lad from Tajikistan brought colour and two more goals into their play that erased Churchill chances of a fight back.

Mohun Bagan left the Churchill players in disbelief in the 51st minute when Suhair Vadakkepeedika let in a shot that rolled into the Churchill Brothers goal with goalkeeper Sukhadev caught in the wrong angle. The goal awoke the Bagan supporters who had gathered and pepped up the team’s game in the midfield and upfront and it resulted in another goal a few minutes later.

U-20 Nongdamba Naorem got the ball on the left flank and after getting past Hangshing crossed in into the Churchill box for substitute Komron having no difficulty in tapping the ball effortlessly inside the Churchill goal for his team’s third goal of the evening.

The goal furthered bolstered Mohun Bagan’s approach and the visitors were seen all over the Churchill citadel and could have scored a fourth goal if not for hitting the posts of Sukadev coming to his teams rescue.

So complete was Bagan’s domination in the last minutes of the game that the concentration shifted to off field activity with an alleged Mohun Bagan fan being attacked by alleged Churchill Brothers supporters for performing black magic during the game.

As the match wore on and the fourth goal proved elusive the home fans patted themselves for having evicted the “black magician” and the slump in Bagan activity in front of the Churchill goal.

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