By I-League Media
BENGALURU: The Mariners clinched an all-important win against the Blues at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium tonight, courtesy two second-half strikes from Jeje Lalpekhlua and Sony Norde. Incidentally, this was the Blues’ second loss at their home in last three games.
Sanjoy Sen started with Kean Lewis and Cornell Glen at the up front and Sony Norde and skipper Katsui Yusa were appointed to operate the game from the wings. The game started off at a blistering pace and the home team earned their first corner in the third minute, although they couldn’t percolate the Mariners’ defence.
Both teams stressed on a physical game and Ajit Meitei, the referee, had to blow his whistle quite a few times. In the 14th minute, Pronay Halder had an elbow on Thoi Singh and referee didn’t hesitate to flash the yellow card. 8 minutes later, Sunil Chhetri tried to curl in on the top of the box but his right-footed shot was a miscued one. Both teams tried their luck from outside the box but the defenders showed their resilience to thwart the opponent attackers. Curtis Osano, Lalchuanmawia Fanai and Kim Song Yong went into the referee’s book for their rasping challenges in the first half.
There was little difference between the outfits in the first half and the players went into the lemon break with no difference between them.
The Blues showed their urgency on the resumption of the game and Beikho almost found the target just 2 minutes into the second half. 1 minute later, it was the in-form Bagan striker Cornell Glen whose attempt sailed over the crossbar. Just after the hour-mark, Bengaluru FC got hurt by the massive blow when Lalchhuanmawia Fanai received the marching order after bringing down Sony Norde on a counter-attacking move by the Mariners. Mohun Bagan started to push their limits to utilise the one-man advantage and finally in the 74th minute, Jeje Lalpekhlua broke the deadlock from the left side of the box. Amrinder had little to do as he was completely off his position and Shankar failed to avert the danger.
Ashley Westwood tried to change things and introduced the fresh pair of legs in the forms of Vineeth and Len but they couldn’t break the Mohun Bagan defiance. Beikho had a deadly free kick in the dying minutes of the match but finally, Debjit grabbed it with much proficiency. In the last minute of the added time, Sony Norde sneaked past the Blues’ defence line with his lightning pace and poked in their second goal to seal their first victory against the Blues in Bengaluru.
Kean Lewis was adjudged the Hero of the match for his stupendous display on the pitch tonight and the lawn tennis star Rohan Bopanna presented him the cheque and the silver ball.
With the win, Mohun Bagan leapfrogged their arch rivals Kingfisher East Bengal to the second spot on the table, owing to their better goal difference. Bengaluru FC still hold the pinnacle spot with 15 points, one more than the reigning champions, having played 2 matches more.