Mohun Bagan 3-1 DSK Shivajians : Balwant Brace Seals Victory For Bagan
Mohun Bagan returned to winning ways after convincingly beating Pune outfit DSK Shivajians by 3-1 at the Rabindra Sarobar Stadium in Kolkata.
Milan opened the scoring for the away side in the 33rd minute while Balwant (42’, 44’) scored a brace followed by a goal from Katsumi Yusa(88’) to pick up a much-needed victory for Bagan.
Mohun Bagan boss Sanjoy Sen refused to tinker with his signature 4-4-2 formation. U-22 left back Subhasish Bose returned to the starting XI after missing out the last match with an injury, along with Sehnaj Singh and Balwant Singh. Mohun Bagan’s Haitian talisman Sony Norde started the game amid injury concerns.
DSK started with a 4-5-1 formation with Sumit Passi upfront. Sasa Kolunija and Seong-Yong Kim missed the tie due to injury.
It was the side from Pune who looked the most threatening in the initial quarter of the game. Real Madrid academy graduate, Juan Quero pulled the strings in the midfield, terrorizing the Bagan defence in the process.
It was Quero who got the first sniff at goal in the 20th minute. Sumeet Passi’s defence-splitting pass found Quero through on goal but an onrushing Debjit Majumdar came to Bagan’s rescue.
DSK, however, kept piling on the pressure on the Bagan defence and eventually got their reward in the 33rd minute. Juan Quero showcased his class at the left wing, beating Eduardo all ends up, before splitting the Bagan defence with another through ball to Milan Singh, who calmly placed the ball in the back of the net with a left footed shot.
Bagan were guilty of surrendering possession of the ball in the middle of the park. Reacting to the situation, Sanjoy Sen replaced Sehnaj Singh with Prabir Das. The introduction of Prabir turned out to be the game changer as Bagan took control of the match within minutes.
Bagan restored parity in the 42nd minute when DSK custodian Subrata Paul failed to parry a Pritam Kotal cross away, with the ball falling for a poaching Balwant Singh, who comfortably headed the ball home, sending the home crowd into ecstasy.
The Kotal – Balwant combination seemed to work wonders as a minute later another Pritam Kotal lob from the right was side-volleyed into the back of the net by Balwant.
Teams went into halftime with Bagan leading 2-1.
After the resumption, Bagan looked much more composed on the ball, compared to the first half, with Sony Norde weaving his magic on the left wing.
Norde played some delightful through balls to Katsumi and Duffy, who missed some glaring opportunities in front of goal. Balwant could have easily got a hat-trick, had he kept his composure.
Bagan extended their lead in the dying embers of the game as Jeje was brought down inside the box by Gouramangi Singh. Katsumi Yusa made no mistake in converting the spot kick, thus sealing the fate of this exciting tie.
With this win, Bagan are now level on points (21) with East Bengal, but still at the second spot owing to goal difference.
DSK, on the other hand, are on the sixth position with 10 points from as many games.
MOTM- Balwant Singh