Mohun Bagan survived a late challenge from ATK to manage a 2-1 win in a Group ‘B’ match of the Durand Cup here on Thursday. Bagan’s second successive victory took it closer to the semifinals.
Playing at the Bagan ground following hours of heavy rain, both sides found the going tough as players slipped and fell frequently on a sluggish surface.
The host, nevertheless, controlled the pace to trouble its city rival – studded with some younger players – with a barrage of set-pieces.
The Mariners wasted at least three opportunities – the best one in 29 minute when N. Naorem’s cross for Suhair V.P. went abegging – before taking lead through Francisco Morante’s superb header off Joseba Beitia’s corner kick in the 34 minute.
Beitia was the chief tormentor with his swift forays and accurate dead ball skill.
Bagan nearly doubled its lead, but Alexander Romario’s header off a Gurjinder Kumar cross hit the bar minutes before the breather.
The second goal came Bagan’s way nine minutes into the second half. Suhair made up for his mistake in the opening period by giving a back pass from goal line and Beitia foxed ATK keeper Avilash Paul with a skillful shot.
ATK put up a sturdier defence and displayed gutsy counterattacks to keep Bagan under pressure.
Komal Thatal failed to beat Bagan custodian Shankar Roy in the 72 minute, but ATK was rewarded for its perseverance 10 minutes later. Ashis Pradhan lobbed it over the keeper into the net following Boris Singh’s run into the box.
As the contest became intense and Roy made another fine save off Thatal, players from both sides were engaged in a minor scuffle. Bagan midfielder Surabuddin Mollick got a red card towards the end.
- Bagan condemns act of damaging East Bengal gate -
Mohun Bagan on Thursday condemned the act of some of its supporters, who damaged the gate erected by East Bengal Club for its centenary celebrations.
Following Bagan’s 2-1 win over ATK in a Durand Cup football tournament, some excited fans, donning green and maroon jerseys, were seen damaging the gate built on the street leading to EB Club.
“We condemn this nasty and unethical behaviour in the strongest of words. We have sent a letter to EB general secretary Kalyan Majumder condemning the act and have requested them to re-erect the gate, the cost of the same will be borne by us,” Bagan said in a statement.
“We have also lodged a complaint in Maidan Police Station to take appropriate action as per law...We appeal to supporters of both clubs to maintain mutual respect and harmony so that the image of both clubs and of football is not tarnished,” it said.
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