Bagan begin I-League campaign with 3-1 win over Mumbai FCKolkata: Cash-strapped Mohun Bagan had a perfect start to their I-League football season as Katsumi Yusa and Sony Norde inspired them to a 3-1 victory over Mumbai FC at the Vivekananda Yuva Bharati Krirangan here
Kolkata: Cash-strapped Mohun Bagan had a perfect start to their I-League football season as Katsumi Yusa and Sony Norde inspired them to a 3-1 victory over Mumbai FC at the Vivekananda Yuva Bharati Krirangan here today.
The foreigner duo of Yusa and Norde showed perfect combination on field as the former struck a double (13th and 69th) while the Haitian national snatched the lead with a 25th minute strike in a one-sided match against the visiting side who were reduced to 10 men after their goalkeeper Kunal Sawant was sent off in the 89th minute.
For the visitors, it seemed a one-man army in Brazilian Joshimar d'Silva Martins who struck the solitary goal in the 20th minute. Having plied his trade in the city, Joshimar looked dangerous upfront but Mohun Bagan central defence in Bello Rasaq and Kinghsuk Debnath looked compact.
Mumbai FC also were unlucky as they lost a brilliant opportunity to make it 2-2 after Joshimar's 35th minute powerful left-footer hit the post as Mohun Bagan had a slender 2-1 lead at the break.
But man of the match Yusa took the game out of Mumbai FC's reach when Manish Bhargav's low cross was capitalised by the Japanese striker who was lurking in front unmarked.
There was more misery for Mumbai FC after goalkeeper Sawant came out of his line to stop an onrushing Balwant Singh, but even after getting a touch on the ball, he ended up handling it as Goan referee Tejas Nagvenkar showed him the marching orders.
Mumbai FC had a couple of fine attacks to start the proceedings but all of them went abegging as Mohun Bagan made full use of their opportunity when Yusa struck their first I-League goal of the season in the 13th minute.
It was the Haitian Norde who supplied the ball from the right to Balwant Singh who controlled it well to lay it on the path of Yusa inside the box. The Japanese chested it down to slot it home to bring cheers in the home team camp early on.
However, their joy was short-lived when Maidan veteran Joshimar d'Silva Martins struck a clinical header from a Justin Stephen cross to make it 1-1 within seven minutes. The third goal was scored in space of 12 minutes as Norde put Mohun Bagan ahead after a defensive lapse by Justin Stephen.
The towering Stephen looked struggling to cope with the bounce of the artificial turf as he gifted Mohun Bagan a goal midway into the first half when he misjudged the bounce as Norde capitalised in front of an open net to make it 2-1.