Kolkata giants Mohun Bagan’s agony continues as they had to taste their first defeat of the 2017/18 Hero I-League season to ten-man Chennai City FC who won maximum points, thanks to their 2-1 victory over the Kolkata heavyweights at the Mohun Bagan club ground on Tuesday (2nd January 2018).
Jean Joachim scored in the fifth minute but Ansumana Kromah equalised from the spot after Pradeep Mohanraj was sent off. Veniamin Shumeiko made matters worse for the hosts in the 71st minute when he scored a blinding header to cap off an away victory.
Kinshuk Debnath, Nikhil Kadam and Raynier Fernandes were all dropped from the Mohun Bagan lineup with the latter not even finding a spot on the bench. Rana Gharami and Azharuddin Mallick were brought in and Sourav Das was given his maiden start in the Hero I-League.
V. Soundararajan switched to a 4-4-2 lineup as Murilo Almeida was brought in to partner Jean-Michael Joachim in the attack. Sebastian Thangmuansang and Alexander Jesuraj were dropped as Tarif Akhand slotted in at right full-back.
It took only five minutes for the visitors to break the deadlock. Murilo Almeida snatched the ball away from Sourav Das in midfield and released Joachim after cutting past Gharami and Eze Kingsley. The Frenchman was left one-on-one with Shilton Paul and he shot past the hapless ‘keeper from 16 yards.
The flurry of attacks did not stem there. The men in orange looked much lively as their style of pressing play hardly allowed the Green and Maroons to string meaningful attacks. Ansumana Kromah did lead the home crowd to believe in an equalizer but his shot from the edge of the box only rebounded from the crossbar in the 27th minute.
Mohun Bagan continued their streak of winning penalties when Pradeep Mohanraj stopped the ball going into the net from Shilton D’Silva’s header from a flag kick. The left-back was then sent off minutes after heroically making a goalline clearance as Ansumana Kromah converted from the six-yard spot to draw level.
Despite having an extra man on the field for more than half an hour, Mohun Bagan were unable to create any offensive penetration in the opposing half. Even Manandeep Singh’s introduction could not reap any goals for the hosts.
Murilo won a corner with twenty minutes on the clock and the Kyrgyz Republic defender stood tall to head home from Soosairaj’s flag kick.
Murilo even had a shot which rattled the crosspiece in the dying moments of the match as the Mariners looked lacklustre, to say the least.
Incidentally, it was Mohun Bagan’s first defeat at their home in more than three Hero I-League seasons, the first under the tenure of Sanjoy Sen.
With ten points from seven games, Mohun Bagan trail league leaders Kingfisher East Bengal by seven points as they welcome the title-holders Aizawl FC on Sunday.
Chennai City FC, on the other hand, rise to the seventh spot with 7 points and they’ll now travel to Shillong for their next away fixture on January 5, 2018.
AIFF Media Release