Two first-half goals from Dipanda Dicka helped Mohun Bagan collect its first win of the season — a 2-0 defeat of Indian Arrows here on Saturday. With five points from three matches, Bagan is now third in the I League points table.
With its second loss of the competition, Arrows remains on three points, occupying the sixth spot.
The team’s strategy in the contest seemed to be to sit back and defend. Bagan dominated possession and accounted for all the goal-scoring chances in the first half. As early as in the second minute, Ugandan striker Henry Kisseka found himself in the clear inside the Arrows box but he hit wide with only the goalkeeper to beat.
Dicka, in the seventh minute, got a free header from a cross by Omar Elhusseiney from the left; but he nodded straight to Prabhsukan Gill in the Arrows goal. After Kisseka missed a couple of chances, the first goal arrived in the 30th minute. Kisseka got hold of the ball outside the Arrows box on the right and bulldozed through three defenders; he sent a cross past Gill for Dicka to score with a diving header.
Arrows began to show some attacking intent five minutes from the end of the first half. Boris Singh made an eye-catching run down the Bagan box but it yielded nothing. However, just before the end of the half, Pintu Mahata, who had switched flanks, cut in from the left and his cross caught the outstretched hand of a defender; the referee pointed to the penalty spot. Dicka slotted in for his second to give his side the required cushion going into the break.
Change of tactics
Arrows coach Floyd Pinto brought in Khumanthem Meetei in the second half in the midfield in place of right back Aimol. It seemed to be a clear change of tactics intended to bring in more attacking impetus.
Rahul K. P., who continued to impress with every outing, was at the heart of this impetus, but the Bagan defence, led by Nigerian Eze Kingsley, held fort. One of the best chances for Bagan in the second half was in the 68th minute, when Dicka rose to connect a cross from Arijit Bagui from the right flank; his header was brilliantly tipped over the bar by Gill.
It would have been a hat-trick. Nonetheless, it was a comprehensive victory for the green and maroon brigade.
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