Match Report : Mohun Bagan 4-0 Minerva Punjab FC
Mohun Bagan thumped Minerva Punjab 4-0 riding on brilliant displays from Darryl Duffy and Jeje Lalpekhlua in the round 3 encounter of the I-League at the Rabindra Sarobar Stadium in Kolkata on Tuesday.
Both Darryl Duffy(16', 32') and Jeje(28',77') scored a brace each to earn Bagan an easy victory over the I-League debutants, Minerva Punjab.
Bagan supporters got their first glimpse of Sony Norde and Eduardo Ferreira this season on the pitch as Bagan coach made as many as five to his side that played against Shillong Lajong.
Minerva gaffer, Surinder Singh made seven changes to his squad that featured against Aizawl. Kyrgyzstan striker Ivan Filatov was given his debut.
The home side took their time before displaying their attacking prowess in the first half. It took Bagan 16 minutes to break Minerva's defence. Sony Norde sent in a curling free kick from just outside the left-hand side of the box which was calmly headed home by Duffy, much to the delight of the home fans.
The second goal came in the 28th minute when Bagan's U-22 player Subhasish Bose whipped in a low cross from the left into the path of a poaching Jeje, who made no mistake in finding the back of the net.
The two early goals seemed to have rattled the inexperienced visitors, as they conceded another soft goal in the 32nd minute when Duffy took full advantage of a goalkeeping error, adding to Minerva's misery.
Teams went into the half-time with the scoreline reading 3-0 in favour of Bagan.
It was a subdued start to the second half as Bagan decided to take their foot off the accelerator. Minerva created a few half chances but never really troubled the Bagan defence.
Sony Norde was yet to recapture his last season’s levels of effervescence but was a delight to watch. He was unlucky to not get his name on the scoresheet after hitting the bar in the 57th minute.
Minerva had a sniff at goal in the 64th minute when Joel Sunday tried his luck from long range, but unluckily for him the ball ricocheted off the cross-bar.
Jeje Lalpekhlua managed to put the final nail in Minerva's coffin in the 77th minute when he managed to score a scrambler of a goal after Kamaljit failed to clear a through ball from Bikramjit, eventually gifting the ball in the path of a lurking Jeje, who somehow managed to push it in the back of the net.
Bagan could have increased their lead in the dying embers of the match had Balwant Singh not missed a couple of easy chances.
The match thus finished 4-0 in favour of Bagan, a margin that could have been even bigger had Bagan taken all their chances.
When Sanjoy Sen’s Mohun Bagan play as they did here, particularly in the first half, the talk about this being the year when they reclaim the league title does not sound too fanciful. Bagan's three match winning run, without even conceding a goal, gives the impression that the team is slowly getting into the groove.
The win takes Mohun Bagan to the top of the table with 9 points from three games. Minerva, on the other hand, have just accumulated a solitary point in their first three games.
Man of the Match: Jeje Lalpekhlua.
FeverPitch’s Match of the Match: Darryl Duffy.