Sony Norde found the target late in the second half to help Mohun Bagan down NEROCA FC by a solitary goal in an I-League match at home, here at the Salt Lake Stadium on Saturday. The Haitian attacker found the winner off a fine solo effort after Mohun Bagan had weathered a flurry of attacks from the visitor, which went full throttle looking to reach the top of the current standings.

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The win, its second at home, took Mohun Bagan to the fifth spot as it tied NEROCA on 21 points after its 13th outing of the tournament. The visitor, having played 12 matches, remained in the fourth spot with a better goal difference.

Mohun Bagan goalkeeper Shilton Paul had a tough time under the bar as the visitor broke through the home defence on a few occasions but failed to find the net because of the alertness of the former. NEROCA, the I-League runner-up last season, showed good organisation at the start and kept the host busy defending its citadel for a considerable period in the opening half.

Encouraged by the win against the holder Minerva Punjab FC in the last outing at the same venue, Bagan’s new coach Khalid Jamil made minimal changes in the squad bringing back Lalchhawnkima in place of Dalraj Singh to bolster the defence. The visitor’s coach Manuel Fraile preferred to retain the team that downed Shillong Lajong in its pervious match.

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Emerging unscathed from the opening half where Paul showed the heroics under the bar blocking some fine efforts from the likes of NEROCA attackers like Subhash Singh and Malem Meete, Mohun Bagan showed more initiative after the change of ends. Bagan increased men in attack bringing in Henry Kisekka in the second-half and this worked well for the side as it started finding the attack route more frequently. Norde broke the deadlock in the 78th minute as he tore through NEROCA’s defensive array making a nice solo effort before firing home an angular drive to beat the opposition goalkeeper Lalit Thapa.

The result: Mohun Bagan 1 (Sony Norde 78) bt NEROCA FC 0.