A crafty strike from Henry Kisseka helped Mohun Bagan defeat defending champion Minerva Punjab FC in an I-League contest at the Tau Devi Lal Stadium, Panchkula, on Wednesday. Kisseka’s goal, in the 79th minute, helped Bagan shrug off its recent defeat against arch-rival East Bengal, and crawl up to the sixth position in the points table.
Minerva, after the loss, is positioned seventh, after having played nine matches (one more than Bagan).
Bagan dominated the contest from the get-go. Yuta Kinowaki, in the defensive midfield position, and Kisseka were testing their opponents; Yuta intercepted most of the second balls in his half and Kisekka, playing from the left, was busy penetrative and creating most of the chances.
In the second minute, Dipanda Dicka cut in between two defenders inside the box to send the ball past goalkeeper Arshdeep and into the net. However, Kisseka, with whom Dicka had exchanged passes, was called off-side. Five minutes before half-time, Omar El Hussieny hit the underside of the bar from a wonderfully taken free-kick, but the ball bounced off the line to be cleared by the Minerva defence.
The home team, in contrast to Bagan’s performance, failed to get a single shot on goal in this period.
In the second half, Dicka had another good opportunity to score. A wonderfully weighted cross from the right by Arijit Bagui presented an opportunity of a free-header but Dicka failed to connect.
Bagan’s patience paid off in the 79th minute. Omar threaded in a peach of a through ball, releasing Kisekka inside the Minerva box on the left. To the Ugandan’s credit, he drew his marker further away from the goal and then unleashed a thunderous left-footer from a very narrow angle to beat Arshdeep.
Both teams had made changes to their line-up; Arshdeep was brought in place of Bhaskar Roy, who had played their last game against Chennai City. Thoiba Singh also sat out in a midfield swap with Jagpreet. Bagan brought in Gurjinder at centre-back to replace Eze Kinglsey, who was sent off in the last game against East Bengal.
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