By Rajarshi Chakrabarty
Dipanda Dika inspired Mohun Bagan to a 2-1 win in their opening game of Hero Super Cup 2018 at Kalinga Stadium Saturday.
Mohun Bagan found themselves a goal down on 30th minute from a defensive error of Arijit Bagui as Willis Plaza slotted the ball past Shilton Paul to give Churchill Brothers 1-0 lead.
Mohun Bagan despite a goal down managed to control the game as Yuta Kinowaki and Watson continued to string passes and constructed attack down both flanks. Sheikh Faiz and Nikhil Kadam switched flanks often as attacks from the channel along the touchline stretched the Churchill defense.
Both Kadam and Faiz delivered aerial supplies to forward Dipanada Dicka and Akram Moghrabi as Churchill looked vulnerable and the pressure finally paid off at the stroke of half-time as Nicholas Fernandes’s late tackle sent Sheikh Faiz on the floor.
The referee had pointed to the spot as Dipanda Dicka stepped up to take the penalty, scored on his second attempt after his initial shot was stopped by the keeper Ricardo Cardozo.
Mohun Bagan kept the momentum alive in the second half pegging Churchill Brothers deep in their own half as Yuta Kinowaki came close to scoring but his curler from 20 yards out was saved by Ricardo.
As Mohun Bagan piled the pressure, the deadlock was broken on the 70th minute with a wonderful team goal. Watson’s long ball found Akram Moghrabi into the box who headed it down to the path of an advancing Dipanda Dicka, I-League’s top scorer took the opportunity gleefully to slide it past the keeper to make it 2-1.
Mohun Bagan contained Churchill keeping the possession and rallied the ball around as they looked the dominant side.There was no late drama as Mohun Bagan cruised to a 2-1 win to book a place in the quarter final.