Mohun Bagan beat Real Kashmir to jump to the top of the I-League table
SRINAGAR: Calcutta giants Mohun Bagan recorded a fluid 2-0 victory over Real Kashmir FC (RKFC) in an away game to climb to the top of the I-League Sunday table.
The game started at 11.30 in the morning on the TRC field due to the cold, but the harsh weather conditions could not prevent visitors from registering the victory.
After a sterile first half, Joseba Beitia (71 minutes) and Nongdamba Naorem (73) scored twice for the giants of Kolkata in a span of two minutes, breaking the hopes of local fans.
The green and the garnet had most of the possession and more shots on target, but the home team had more attempts and five more corners in a game that could have been anyway.
Mohun Bagan coach Kibu Vicuña started with the newly signed Senegalese striker Baba Diawara and brought Dhanachandra Singh in the bottom line with Gurjinder Kumar , who was suspended.
Scottish David Robertson, the RKFC coach, however, preferred the same initial XI he won against the reigning champions of the city of Chennai in the previous game.
The visitors were strong from the initial beep and marked up to three corners in the space of the first six minutes.
Talented winger Nongdamba Naorem then had his first chance of the game in the 22nd minute, but his left-footer from inside the Kashmir box failed to cause any problem for goalkeeper Phurba Lachempa.
Both sides had golden opportunities to score, but the first half remained goalless.
In the second half, while Bagan continued to dominate the possession, the home team had better scoring opportunities in the first 20 minutes.
Bazie had a shot on the turn from the bottom of the Bagan area in the 49th minute, but the effort deflected over the crossbar.
Sankar Roy then made the save of the game in the 65th minute to deny Mason Robertson, who tried a header from near a piece of the Higginbottom set.
For now, Kashmir had thrown the Ivorian striker Gnohere Krizo into the mix and intensified his attacks. However, it was the Kolkata visitors who turned the game in two minutes.
First, off a long Dhanachandra Singh throw from the right-flank, Daniel Cyrus somehow managed to deflect the ball in the path of an onrushing Beitia.
Beitia positioned her body perfectly to face the loose ball with a right jab, which made its way to the Kashmir net. The ball left the goalkeeper and Bagan was 1-0 ahead.
A couple of minutes later, another young Bagan talent, S k Sahil, showed an outstanding vision and found the substitute P M Britto running down the same flank with a wonderful pass.
Britto hurried to clear and floated the ball again. Naorem, who had an outstanding game, was at the end of this and launched a perfectly connected volley at the bottom of the net to give Bagan a 2-0 lead.
Kashmir made brave attempts to return and Loveday Okechukwu lost his best chance with less than five minutes left. Krizo also had a close attempt but it was in vain.
Mohun Bagan has 10 points in five games, while Kashmir fell to eighth place with five points in four games.
The Mariners will host the next Indian Arrows on January 9, while the Snow Leopards will receive Punjab FC a day later.