IN A LACKLUSTRE PERFORMANCE, Mohun Bagan failed to capitalize on their good start and squandered a lead to allow Young Elephants FC to win 1-2.
Playing their campaign opener in the Group A of Sheikh Kamal International Club Cup, the Mariners got their lead when Joseba Beitia's corner was headed into the net by Julien Colinas.
But a defensive mistake before half-time allowed Somxay Keohanam to find the equalizer for the Laos Premier League club.
In the second half, the match continued much in the same vein, with Mohun Bagan keeping most of the ball but often losing possession due to lack of passing accuracy and mutual understanding.
The Mariners created multiple chances but failed to convert. Young Elephants were particularly effective on a counter, and they almost found an equalizer when a long ball came off the crossbar.
But minutes before the match was over, Colinas was fouled inside the box and Mohun Bagan got a penalty. Joseba Beitia stepped up to take the spot kick and under pressure delivered a weak one that the Young Elephants keeper Xaysavath saved with a dive to the right.
The Laotian club immediately launched a counter and the Mohun Bagan defence, caught off guard, offered little resistance. It was Somxay again who found the net, making it 1-2 just before the end.
This victory has given Young Elephants a huge head start in the tournament, who with 3 points from the first match are now the favourites to enter the semi-finals along with host club Chittagong Abahani who are also on 3 points, having beaten TC Sports by 4-1 yesterday.
For Mohun Bagan, this loss has not only exposed multiple defensive vulnerabilities but also pushed them back from having a chance to qualify for the semis.
On 22nd October, the tournament will return to action after a rest day. In Group B, I-League champions Chennai City FC will face Malaysian Super League club Terengganu FC in their campaign opener, while Durand Cup winners Gokulam Kerala FC will take on Bangladesh Premier League champions Basundhara Kings.