Coimbatore, January 31, 2020: Mohun Bagan defeated defending I-League champions Chennai City FC 3-2 in a close encounter at the Nehru Stadium in Coimbatore on Friday evening. A brace from Papa Diawara and another goal from Fran Gonzalez helped Mohun Bagan hold their position at the top of the table. Though the home team tried their best to make a comeback,they ended the match with only two goals in their name and are now at the ninth position in the table.
After the loss to East Bengal,Mashoor Sharif, Ajith Kumar and Sriram B were brought in by Chennai City FC in their starting eleven. On the other hand, due to the exit of an injured Daneil Cyrus, Komron Tursunov came in to the Bagan side that won the previous match against Neroca. Tursonov joined Diawara in attack while Fran Gonzalez played centreback along with Fran Morante at the heart of Mohun Bagan defence.
From the first whistle,both teams started testing each other’s defence. Within the first five minutes, Bagan managed to get three corners but three headers from Diawara went off-target. The first significant chance in the match was made by Chennai City FC when their Japanese winger Katsumi Yusa’s corner was redirected towards goal by Fito Miranda. But the scores remained unchanged due a goal-line save by VP Suhair.
In the 27th minute of the match, Papa Diawara rose above his marker to head in Betia’s cross to give the visitors their first goal. Chennai City FC had not yet digested the first goal when in the very next minute when another cross from Betia was headed home, this time by Fran Gonzalez. With a 2-0 lead, Bagan took command over the game . Two great chances were lost by Fito Miranda and Jan Muzangu of Chennai City FC.
Soon after the second half began, in the 49th minute, Beitia spotted the run of young winger Nongdamba Naorem from a free-kick inside the Bagan half. Naorem beat a defender and made his way inside the box and then squared to an unmarked Diawara. The Senegalese striker coolly slotted the ball home to score his second goal of the evening.
Chennai substitute Vijay came in and within five minutes of his play,made room for himself and scored the first goal for his side in the 65th minute of the match. Four minutes later, another goal was scored for Chennai by Jishnu Balakrishnan.
While the hosts kept pressing for an equaliser, Bagan kept trying for their insurance goal but the scoreline didn’t change. The match ended with 3-2 scoreline and with Mohun Bagan bagging three important away points. Papa Babacar Diawara was adjudged Hero of the Match for his brace.
By clinching the seventh victory of this season, Mohun Bagan now have 23 points from 10 games and are six points ahead of second-placed Punjab FC with whom their next home match is on 9th February.
The support of travelling Mohun Bagan fans who were present for cheering their team as always was commendable.