Fran Gonzalez’s second consecutive brace propelled Mohun Bagan to a 2-1 win over Gokulam Kerala FC in a closely-fought I-League engagement at the Kalyani Stadium here on Monday.
Bagan’s second successive victory, the first ever over the Kerala side, took it from fifth to second place.
In the eventful match – which recorded plenty of bookings including home captain Gurjinder Singh’s red card in closing moments because of two yellows – Bagan showed better coordination to sustain pressure early on the visiting defenders.
Gokulam goalkeeper Ubaid C.K. stayed busy and his team was lucky not to concede a penalty in the 21st minute when V.P. Suhair was felled inside the box.
However, Ubaid’s foul on Ashutosh Mehta in the next minute fetched Bagan a penalty. Gonzalez converted it to put the host ahead.
As Gokulam intensified attack, the match saw tussles between players of both sides. Naocha Singh earned a yellow card following his duel with defender Ashutosh yards away from the Bagan post.
Another tussle saw Ashutosh receiving a yellow at the opposite end.
Gokulam unleashed some aerial balls to penetrate through the Bagan defence. The visitors’ persistence paid off when Julen Collinas tripped left winger Malemnganba Meitei inside the area and Marcus Joseph rolled it in off the penalty at the stroke of half-time.
Bagan regained lead soon after resumption. Gonzalez’s electric header off Joseba Beitia’s corner kick spread cheers among 14,000-odd fans.
In the hotly-contested second half, which witnessed a few instances of scuffle, Gokulam pressed hard to create a few fine chances but could not find the much-needed equalizer. The best of them came from Marcus, whose kick was brilliantly palmed away by a jumping Sankar Roy. Luckily, the ball didn't enter the Bagan post.
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