Defending Champions Mohun Bagan began their title defence with a dominating 4-0 win over DSK Shivajians in the ongoing 38th Hero Federation Cup at the Barabati Stadium on Monday.
A Balwant Singh brace (24th min, 71st) and goals by Darryl Duffy (65th) and Jeje (90+ 2nd) proved enough for Sanjoy Sen's men to start their campaign with a win.
The Mariners topped Group A, despite being level on points with JSW Bengaluru FC (3 points each), but edging them in goal difference.
It was a cautious beginning to the match by both the teams. Chances in the opening minutes were rare but overall Mohun Bagan dominated possession.
In the 13th minute, Darryl Duffy produced a sensational half-volley after Katsumi Yusa had assisted him in the attempt, but the venomous shot went past the goal.
Shivajians, wary of Bagan's attacking threat, played deep and constructed the midfield.
Sony Norde proved to be a threat from the flanks and in the 24th minute, his cross for Balwant Singh gave Bagan the lead. Balwant connected with a precise header to send the ball home, giving Mariners a solitary goal lead. The half-time scoreline read 1-0.
The DSK attack looked more comfortable going ahead in the second half. Halicharan from the wings and Sanju Pradhan from the midfield added to the numbers upfront but an experienced Bagan defence line saw all the dangers away with acumen.
Even Katsumi Yusa dropped back to do the dirty work and beef up the defence for Bagan.
In the 52nd minute, Sony Norde initiated a counter attack for the Mariners from the wings. The Haitian cut in from the left flank and released a curling shot that went inches past the goal.
Eight minutes later, Balwant failed to connect on a Sehnaj Singh cross from the right flank. DSK tried to breach the Bagan defence line and they got a chance in the 63rd minute but Quero's shot went over the bar.
In the 65th minute, Duffy headed the ball home from a Norde corner after the DSK defence line failed to clear the ball to double the Mariner's lead.
A minute later, Norde's shot from inside the box, with no real pressure, went over the bar.
Singh added more gloss to the scoreline as he scored from outside of the box in the 71st minute to triple Bagan's lead.
DSK was kept at bay by the Mariner's defence and Jeje got on the scoresheet in the dying moments of the match as at the end of time the scoreline read 4-0 in Bagan's favour.
Published Date: May 09, 2017 11:41 am | Updated Date: May 09, 2017 11:41 am