MOHUN BAGAN BEGAN their Durand Cup campaign with a dominant 5-0 win over Bangladesh Army Football Team.
The Mariners had fielded an all-Indian squad in this match, with mostly the players from their CFL team. However, the errenous defence of the Bangladesh Army team gave way from early on.
Just 15 minutes in, Liston Colaco scored the first goal for Mohun Bagan. At the half hour mark, Lalriniana Hnamte was fouled inside the box and Manvir Singh converted the penalty.
Suhail, who has been one of the most prolific scorers in the CFL this season, got the third goal for Bagan off a great through ball from Liston but his final shot took a deflection of BAFT defender Mehdi Hasan before going into the net. Officially, it was recorded as an own goal.
Early in the second half, Hnamte also got on the scoresheet with a goal off a sublime backheel by Manvir to set him up at the goalmouth. The fifth goal came late in the game, courtesy Kiyan Nassiri.
The win was significant for the Mariners, since they took a risk by fielding their youngsters in this match. A loss here could have derailed their entire Durand Cup campaign.
The club has so far registered only two foreign players in this tournament along with their mostly young Indian core - Brendan Hamill and Hugo Boumous. This has been done to make sure they have a fresh squad for the AFC Cup Qualifiers which will happen during the ongoing Durand Cup. However, they can stil register six more players in this competition, which leaves them with the option of bringing in some of their strongest players in the latter stages.
The club management had earlier requested for the Kolkata Derby match in Durand Cup to be moved from 12th August to 11th August, which would give them a 5 day gap from from their first AFC Cup qualifier match. So far, the Durand Committee has not given any answer either way on this matter. But tickets for the highly anticipated Derby still have not been released.
Mohun Bagan's next match will be against newly promoted ISL side Punjab FC, on 7th August.
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