By Debayan Mukherjee,
AIFF Media Team
Mohun Bagan 1 (Kinshuk Debnath – 74th)
Shillong Lajong 0
VASCO: Mohun Bagan missed a lot of chances but had the rub of the green on their side, riding a fortuitous goal to edge fellow strugglers Shillong Lajong 1-0 in an inconsequential Hero Federation Cup Group B tie here at the Tilak Maidan on Tuesday (January 6, 2014).
Kinshuk Debnath claimed the second-half winner off Sony Norde’s freekick to help the ailing Kolkata giants finish their campaign on a good note. Bagan, courtesy the result end on five points from four matches while cellar team Lajong failed to open their account after playing their full quota of matches.
Jeje Lalpekhlua – starting in place of Balwant Singh – failed to convert a poorly taken spot kick apart from missing a hatful, also finding Lajong’s AIFF Academy graduate Vishal Kaith -- later adjudged the Hero of the Match – in sublime form under the bar.
Yusa Katsumi and Debnath rattled the post and bar respectively either side of halftime but had it not been for Vishal, the score could have been a hammering.
As expected, the green and maroon brigade started the half better keen to surge ahead as soon as possible in a bid to pull away after that. But the youngsters of Lajong were in no mood to accommodate and leading the pack was Vishal who stretched his good form between the sticks to the second match running.
Apart from saving the poorly taken penalty by Jeje in the 25th minute, the Himachal Pradesh born custodian was up to the task from Yusa and Jeje in a half where he stood between Bagan and the elusive goal.
Without Pierre Boya in attack Yusa and Haitian Sony Norde shouldered the responsibility of doing all the spadework in the attacking third and the duo combined well too only to be let down by Jeje who missed gilt-edged chances.
At the other end the budding stars of Indian football underlined the future is bright. Apart from a fine showing from Vishal in Lajong goal, full back Rupert Nongrum showed lot of industry down the right channel with one buccaneering off-the ball run resulting in him almost getting on the end of a high cross field pass.
But clear cut chances were few and far between for Lajong as Mohun Bagan called the shots in the attacking third. Yusa blasted over a good chance from a Jeje chest-down inside the area and poor touch let Jeje down after Yusa and Norde combined well outside the box.
Yusa came closest to breaking the deadlock six minutes to halftime but the post came to Lajong’s rescue after Norde put the former ONGC playmaker through.
Bagan turned the screws further post the break with Kinshuk Debnath’s glancing header off Norde’s floater ricocheting off the crosspiece early on, and then Jeje missing two good chances again before being replaced by Balwant Singh on the hour mark.
The goal finally arrived, albeit riding luck, as Debnath bundled in a low Norde diagonal freekick which Vishal for once spilled while collecting low.
Posted on : Tuesday January 06, 2015