Fed Cup: Bagan in the final after a goalless draw at Lajong

The scores remained levelled 0-0 at full time and Bagan, which had won the first leg 5-0, made the cut to the grand finale with ease. The Mariners made no effort to be adventurous and rightly so. They held tight to their fortress and denied every single assault from the Reds.

Mohun Bagan thwarted Shillong Lajong FC's desperate attempts to score.   -  Special Arrangement

Mohun Bagan played it safe to secure a goalless draw against host Shillong Lajong FC in the second leg of its Federation Cup semifinal at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Shillong to reach the final of the Federation Cup on Saturday.

The scores remained levelled 0-0 at full time and Bagan, which had won the first leg 5-0, made the cut to the grand finale with ease.

The Mariners made no effort to be adventurous and rightly so. They held tight to their fortress and denied every single assault from the Reds.

Bagan will now take on the winner of the Aizawl-Sporting Clube de Goa tie in the final of the coveted tourney. With just one step away from glory, the Mariners are certain to give it all in the final.

Meanwhile, down 0-5 on aggregate, host Lajong had a herculean task ahead of it. And the burden perhaps was too much to handle for the young side. Despite numerous efforts, goals eluded the Northeasterners who, however, cannot be termed guilty of not trying enough today.

In fact, for Lajong it was a day of missed chances and Fabio Pena’s mishit from close range in the second half bore testimony to that.

Earlier, the host started on a positive note showing all intent to make things move in its favour. Its first real chance came in the sixth minute with Chinglensana Khonsham hitting one over the bar following a Bipin Singh corner kick. Despite the wasted effort, Lajong continued to press hard for the breakthrough while Bagan seemed happy doing the defending job. Another decent chance came Lajong’s way in the 23rd minute following yet another corner. This time Khonsham headed it just over the woodwork.

Five minutes later, a fine shot by Samuel Lalmuanpuia took a slight deflection as rival custodian Debjit Mazumdar stretched himself to push it out.

Changing over, two corners within five minutes failed to change Lajong’s fortunes.

Three minutes after the hour mark, Nim Tamang wasted another opportunity for his side as he lofted a shot wide of the nets with Mazumdar, who had failed to collect the ball, being out of position.

In the 66th minute, an unmarked Robin Gurung charged into the box but his effort went haywire.

Lajong’s best chance to stir the scoreboard came in the 71st minute when Fabio Pena missed a sitter from inside the box with his shot hitting the bar on the right. This summed up Lajong’s fate.

Bagan almost scored in the stoppage time but the Jeje Lalpekhlua shot missed the top of the crossbar by a whisker.

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