Mohun Bagan 1 (Christopher 27)
Mumbai FC 0
AIFF Media Team
COCHIN: A first half strike from Christopher Chizoba saw Mohun Bagan beat Mumbai FC 1-0 in their Group C opener of the 35thFederation Cup at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here on Wednesday.
Having been eliminated from the group stage for the last two editions, Mohun Bagan were determined to make a good start but were dealt a blow before the game as skipper and talisman Odafa Okolie could only make the bench.
Stand-in captain and goalkeeper Shilton Paul made a couple of important saves early on before Katsumi Yusa had the Kolkata club’s first real effort of the match. The Japanese went on a brilliant solo run but his shot was saved on to the bar by Nidhinlal.
The Mariners took the lead when Yusa sent Christopher clean through on goal with a delightful lob pass and the Nigerian showed great composure to find the back of the net.
Mumbai FC couldn’t respond in the first half and thus Khalid Jamil made a positive change at the break by bringing on newly-signed Nigerian striker Henry Ezeh for defender Rahul Bheke. That substitution saw Mumbai put a lot of pressure on the Mohun Bagan goal but their finishing was poor.
At the other end though, Mohun Bagan squandered plenty of chances on the counter attack. First Pankaj Moula was sent free in the box by Yusa but the youngster could only force a routine save from Nidhinlal. Moula then turned provider for substitute Ram Malik who somehow missed from close range.
Christopher also could have doubled the Kolkata team’s advantage after being sent through by Yusa again but the Nigerian delayed and scuffed his shot.
Mohun Bagan keeper Shilton had to remain alert until the last minute to preserve the clean sheet but Mumbai’s Ezeh wasted a couple of golden opportunities as he couldn’t even hit the target despite being unmarked.
Posted on : Wednesday January 15, 2014