Mohun Bagan produced a spectacular second-half resurgence to floor Aizawl FC by a record 5-0 margin and regained the Federation Cup football title after eight years, here at the Indira Gandhi Stadium on Saturday.
Figuring prominently in the Mohun Bagan win with two goals was its Mizoram-born Indian international striker Jeje Lalpekhlua, while Haitian Sony Norde, Dhanachandra Singh and Bikramjit Singh scored one apiece to complete second half goal glut.
Aizawl FC, which had surprised everyone with a series of outstanding performances including the vanquishing of the I-League champion Bengaluru FC, had to concede to the supremacy of Mohun Bagan.
The Kolkata giant produced one of its finest run of success scoring 17 goals and conceding just two in the five matches it played in the tournament and in the process extend the record of winning the title for 14 times. The last time Mohun Bagan had won the title was in 2008, when it beat Dempo 1-0 at home.
Mohun Bagan, which had struggled in a barren first half, made a fantastic turnaround after the break. A fine work of understanding between Sony and Jeje found the latter chesting down a long floater from Bikramjit Singh. Sony finished with a sharp first-timer to beat the Aizwal goalkeeper Soram Poirei all ends up in the 48th minute. Before Aizawl could regroup Dhanachandra Singh double the lead in the 59th minute nodding home a smart corner from Kasumi Yusa.
The second goal virtually broke the resolve of Aizawl as Mohun Bagan tightened its clasp over its opponent. Jeje Lalpekhlua made it 3-0 latching on to an assist from Trinidad and Tobago striker Cornell Glen in the 73rd minute before Bikramjit Singh tapped home a cross from Sony, who made a fine solo effort to create the 82nd minute opportunity (4-0).
Just when it appeared everything was over, Jeje completed the scoring process latching on to a fine pass from substitute Azharuddin Mallick in the 88th minute. The goal made Jeje the most prolific Indian striker as he completed a tally of 20 goals in the season. He scored eight goals including a hat-trick for Bagan in the Fed Cup itself.
The barren first half highlighted the aggression of Aizawl FC and an effort by Mohun Bagan to search the cohesiveness that has been the hallmark of its performance in the tournament. Aizawl’s enthusiasm was built on nice flank-play and a quick passing game that kept the Mohun Bagan defence busy for a good part of the time. The seasoned Brazilian in the Mohun Bagan defence Luciano Sabrosa had a trying time holding up the likes of the Nigerian forward Joel Sunday and the Japanese midfielder Yuta Kinowaki.
Despite a persistent drizzle, Aizawl’s veteran coach Jahar Das sought stick to the usual style of a quick passing game. The ploy of keeping the ball on the ground did work well for the first professional outfit from the tiny North-Eastern state as it discovered the attack route with good regularity.
Kinowaki made the first good attempt from the top of the Nagan box in the 10th minute but his sharp grounder was saved by the Mohun Bagan custodian Debjit Majumdar. Mohun Bagan had started the attack though its tested trio of Norde, Geln and Jeje, but the latter failed to finish the nice passing sequence in the fourth minute.
The result: Mohun Bagan 5 (Sony Norde 48, Dhanachandra Singh 59, Jeje Lalpekhlua 73, 88, Bikramjit Singh 82) bt Aizawl FC 0.