KOLKATA: Mohun Bagan put in a stellar second-half performance to blank Rainbow Athletic Club 3-2 on Tuesday in their second 2018/19 Calcutta Premier Division ‘A’ fixture.
The Mariners squandered a host of chances, looked shaky in defense and needed a special effort from Player of the Match Azharuddin Mallick to come from behind and see off a Rainbow AC side who played attractive football at Mohun Bagan Ground.
Going into the game, Mohun Bagan coach Sankarlal Chakraborty was forced to play Aser Dipanda Dicka despite describing him unfit to play 90 minutes on the eve of the clash as Henry Kisekka got sick yesterday evening.
Mohun Bagan began the better of both sides and orchestrated many moves but missed goal scoring opportunities whenever they approached Rainbow AC’s final third. Tarit Ghosh’s charges played a defensive game and it was difficult to penetrate.
Rainbow AC grew in confidence as the match progressed and they began threatening the Mariners and keeper Shilton Paul had to make a brilliant save in the 24th minute to deny Joel Sunday what looked like a goal when he parried for a corner.
At that stage Rainbow AC had the upper hand and deservedly found a breakthrough when midfielder Abhijt Sarkar slotted a brilliant free-kick home in the 38th minute to put his side ahead.
The Mariners tried to restore the parity before the break, but Dipanda’s effort was saved by Rainbow AC keeper Dibyendu Sarkar following a scramble in the box.
The score was 1-0 to Rainbow AC at the interval following a first-half which was dominated by the Mariners.
Needing a goal, Mohun Bagan came out all guns blazing in the second half as they attacked by pushing high up. The pressure paid off as the Mariners restored the parity three minutes into the session when Dipanda headed home off a Mehtab Hossain free-kick.
Mohun Bagan stepped up the tempo after the goal and attacked the rival goal ferociously going close on a few occasions.
Mariners’s pressure yielded another goal midway through the half when Abhiskek Ambekar’s attempted shot on goal took a touch from defender Godwin Quashiga’s hand and went into the back of the net.
Sankarlal’s men, thereafter, continued to dominate the proceedings and added their third six minute later through Azharuddin, who nodded home after Eze Kingsley set him up from Mehtab’s corner.
However, Rainbow AC never gave up fighting and pulled a goal back in the 82nd minute when Sunday found the target with a header.
At this stage Rainbow AC were dictating terms for their opponents. With the ball now swinging from end to end the action kept the fans on the edge of their seats. But it was Mohun Bagan who came up victorious after they hung with yet another solid defensive performance.