IFA Shield 2018: Mohun Bagan take early initiative

KOLKATA: Subha Ghosh scored four as Mohun Bagan scored five goals in the first-half and cruised to an easy 7-1 victory over Churchill Brothers in the Group B opener of the 122nd U-19 IFA Shield on Friday at Barasat Stadium.

Two goals in the opening 15 minutes and another three before half-time made it a very easy afternoon for Mohun Bagan against a Churchill side that put up little resistance and offered very little threat in attack.

Looking to stamp their authority on proceedings, Mohun Bagan had the Churchill defense under all kinds of pressure early on and they could have scored twice in the opening three minutes, were it not for a lack of composure in front of goal by Pulak Baruah and some excellent goalkeeping from Myron Gomes.

Mohun Bagan coach Jo Paul Ancheri with scorers Subha Ghosh (immediate left), Koushik Santra (extreme left) and Sourav Das (right). By: Ajay Majumder

Mohun Bagan’s blistering start was to pay dividends in the 5th minute when Sourav Das’ cross deflected off Sanyo Fernandes into the Churchill net.

Bagan had another opportunity in the 9th minute but Churchill’s physicality cost them. However, the rampant Mohun Bagan added their second in the 14th minute, after they were awarded a penalty when Dylan Rodrigues pushed Sourav over as he approached the box. Koushik Santra calmly converted from the spot making it 2-0.

Mohun Bagan’s lingering imperfections were briefly exposed when Hussain Pinjar halved the deficit in the 16th minute.

At that point, Mohun Bagan took off. Koushik added to the total in the 36th minute, running onto Ratan Das’ return ball and curling it right-footed from outside the box into the top corner.

Subha then got in on the act two minutes later when Sourav’s clever back-heel allowed him to blaze in an angled shot from 10-yards out. Subha made it five goals in first-half added time with an excellent right-footed shot which went in off the base of the far post.

It was a slow start to the second-half, Mohun Bagan lost it’s spark in attack but it did not stopped them from scoring their sixth when a long-range shot from Subha deflected off a defender and found it’s way into the net to complete his hat-trick in the 78th minute.

Subha then got his fourth with a clinical finish at the near post in the 87th minute,  joining Azharuddin Mallick in 2015 as the only players to score four goals in an U-19 IFA Shield game.

Elsewhere, East Bengal began their campaign in Group A with a 6-1 thrashing of SAIL Football Academy Burnpur at East Bengal Ground. Lalchhanhima scored a brilliant hat-trick with Suranjit Singh, Lalhruaitluanga and Lalruatkima contributing with a goal each.

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