By Rajarshi Chakrabarty
Two first-half goals saw Mohun Bagan overcome young Indian Arrows at Tilak Maidan on Tuesday to climb to the fourth position on the Hero I-League table with 27 points.
Mohun Bagan came out with a 4-4-2 formation with Azharuddin Mullick and Nikhil Kadam playing from both wings to feed the attacking duo of Dicka and Akram, while Yuta Kinowaki and Cameron Watson were in charge of the midfield as they looked to press the young attacking side from the start.
Indian Arrows Coach de Matos preferred a 4-1-4-1 formation to keep the defensive formation tight as he played center back Deepak Tangri as a defensive screen in front of the two center-backs Anwar Ali and Jitendra Singh to block Mohun Bagan attack down the middle denying the forwards space to move the ball. Rahim Ali started as the lone-striker to undertake the scoring duties.
Mohun Bagan had an early chance on the 7th minute as Nikhil Kadam released Akram Moghrabi into space but the striker’s chip over advancing goalkeeper Prabhsukhan landed on the roof of the net.
Both sides exchanged attacks for attacks in the opening burst as Amarjit Kiyams flashing shot from the edge of the box on the 9th minute called for a desperate diving save from Mohun Bagan keeper Shilton Paul to palm it out for a corner.
As Mohun Bagan settled into the game they continued to build-up on their possession and gathered attacking momentum as Nikhil Kadam and Cameron Watson was instrumental in supplying aerial supply into the box for the forward line.
The goal eventually came on the 26th minute as Cameron Watson’s long ball from the center line found Dipanda Dicka who shielded his marker and took advantage of the indecisive defending to score with a wonderful overhead kick to give Mohun Bagan a 2-0 lead.
Mohun Bagan maintained the possession and controlled the game as the young Arrows side found it difficult to maintain any consistent attack on the Mohun Bagan side as Rahul Balan and Rahim Ali had too much space in between which allowed Mohun Bagan to intercept attacking build-up play of Indian Arrows.
The second goal came up in the 41st minute as left back Gurjinder Kumar who came on as a substitute delivered a perfect cross into the six-yard box as Akram Moghrabi slid it in, to put Mohun Bagan 2-0 ahead in the game.
Back in the second half, Mohun Bagan continued their domination and Dipanda Dicka almost doubled his tally in the 59th minute as the strikers’ header from Nikhil Kadam’s cross forced a quick reflex save from Prabhsukhan Gill.
As Mohun Bagan defenders managed to keep the Arrows contained in the quiver with either side failed to create any substantial goal mouth opening in the latter patrt of the second half, the Kolkata side managed to secure three away points with a comfortable 2-0 win.
Mohun Bagan placed fourth with 27 points has 2 games in their hand against Churchill Brothers( 3rd March 2018) and Gokulam Kerala FC (6th March 2018) has a faint shimmering chance to stay in the title hunt subject to results from other teams.