Brilliant Norde takes centre stage in Kolkata derby
Mohun Bagan climbed to within a point of league leaders Aizawl FC and leapfrogged East Bengal to second in the I-League table after bagging maximum points as well as bragging rights following a 2-1 win in the Kolkata derby. The derby took place at the Kanchenjunga Stadium in Siliguri on Sunday and brought an end to Mohun Bagan’s 743-day winless I-League streak in the Kolkata derby.
The Mariners took the lead through star winger Sony Norde (Mumbai City FC), who seemed to be in inspired form, causing all sorts of headaches for East Bengal’s defence. Norde broke the deadlock in the 35th minute with a superbly executed free-kick, which he himself had earned after Romeo Fernandes (FC Goa) had obstructed him just outside the penalty area.
Mohun Bagan doubled their lead two minutes before half-time when youngster Azharuddin Mallick came up with an outrageous chip from more than 20 yards out to make it 2-0. Rowllin Borges (NorthEast United FC) did pull one back for East Bengal in second half stoppage-time but it wasn’t enough to prevent his side from suffering back-to-back defeats.
Elsewhere, league leaders Aizawl FC stumbled to their third defeat of the season at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru on Sunday. Marjan Jugovic netted the only goal of the game in dramatic fashion right at the death to give reigning champions Bengaluru FC three points and put a spanner in the works of Aizawl’s title chase.
The highest scoring match of the week saw Shillong Lajong beat DSK Shivajians 3-2 at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Pune on Saturday. Issac Vanmalsawma and Samuel Lalmuanpuia gave Shillong a 2-0 lead before strikes from Milan Singh (Delhi Dynamos FC) and Pranjal Bhumij helped DSK get back on level terms. The vistors though snatched a stoppage-time winner through Redeem Tlang as DSK succumed to their seventh loss in the league this season.
Relegation battlers Chennai City and Minerva Punjab contested a 2-0 win for the southerners at the Guru Nanak Stadium in Ludhiana, Punjab on Saturday. Michael Soosairaj opened the scoring for Chennai in the first half and Charles De Souza added a second in the closing moments of the game.
Meanwhile, Mumbai FC stayed rooted to the bottom of the table with 11 points after their 0-0 draw against Churchill Brothers at the Cooperage Ground in Mumbai on Saturday. They trail Minerva Punjab, who are just above them by one point, and DSK Shivajians, who currently occupy the eighth spot on 14 points. Aizawl FC now lead Mohun Bagan by a point at the summit of table. However, the Mariners will know that they have a game in hand, making them favourites for the league.