MOHUN BAGAN TOOK A BIG STEP closer to the I-League title tonight, beating TRAU FC 1-3 at Imphal.
The match saw the Mariners start creating chances from early on. Their break-through came 14 minutes in when Komron Tursunov got brought down just inside the box. Francisco Gonzalez converted the penalty easily.
A few minutes later Mohun Bagan more or less killed the match with a spell of two goals in two minutes, courtesy a beautiful shot from outside the box by Joseba Beitia and a quick slam on the net by Papa Diawara. Just 24 minutes in, the Mariners were 0-3 up; a scoreline that did no justice to TRAU keeper Shayan Roy who pulled off great saves throughout the match and played a big role in not allowing the lead to rise further.
The home team got a goal back not long after through Joel Sunday. TRAU incresed pressure in the second half and went all out trying to reduce the deficit when their opponents were reduced to 10 men because of Komoron getting a second yellow card, ultimately their efforts did not bear fruit; thanks largely to Mohun Bagan keeper Sankar Roy who pulled off some tough saves under pressure.
Watch the match right here courtesy of the 1Sports Facebook page.
This match has taken Mohun Bagan much closer to the I-League title. With 35 points from 14 matches, they are now 13 points ahead of second placed Punjab FC. If they win any two of their six remaining matches, they will become the champions of I-League 2019-20. That required threshold may come down further if their nearest opponents Punjab FC, Churchill Brothers etc drop points in their respective next matches.
With a high pressure Kolkata Derby against East Bengal coming up in 2 weeks' time, Mariners have a chance to ease their nerves by securing the I-League title by winning their next 2 matches before that match. But the question is whether they will be able to hold onto their winning form against Chennai City FC and Aizawl FC at home.