I-League: Bagan humbles champion BFC

Apart from finishing second, the only consolation Mohun Bagan had was winning both its matches against Bengaluru FC, which had reclaimed the tile with a round to go.

2014-15 I-League champion Mohun Bagan extracted revenge for this year's narrow loss by defeating Bengaluru Fc at home.   -  V. Sreenivasa Murthy (File Photo)

Mohun Bagan spoiled Bengaluru FC’s championship celebrations by beating the latter 5-0 in the final outing of the I-League and thereby ensuring the runner-up spot, at the Kanchenjungha Stadium, Siliguri on Saturday. Apart from finishing second, the only consolation Mohun Bagan had was winning both its matches against Bengaluru FC, which had reclaimed the tile with a round to go. This was Bengaluru FC’s second I-League crown in three years.

Trinidad and Tobago World Cupper Cornell Glen did the star turn for Bagan scoring two goals while Lenny Rodrigues, Brazilian Luciano Sabrosa and Azharuddin Mallick scored one apiece to complete the rout of the visitor. The match was originally scheduled at the Vidyasagar Stadium, Barasat but was moved to the North Bengal venue as the previous venue did not get clearance owning to elections in the region. Bengaluru FC was reduced to 10 men when its defender Keegan Pereira was given marching orders in the 51st minute after being booked for the second time.

Ashley Westwood, who was declared the best coach of the tournament for helping Bengaluru FC lift the crown twice in three years, did not risk many of his regulars including defender and Englishman John Johnson, striker Sunil Chhetri and midfielder Eugeneson Lyngdoh, apparently to preserve them for the important AFC Cup fixture scheduled at home on Wednesday.

Looking for the first success after remaining winless in the last five outings, in both the I-League and AFC Cup, Mohun Bagan pressed for an early break and found it in the eighth minute when Haitian attacker Sony Norde found space on the left set up a cross to see Glen nod it home from inside the box. The early break seemed to unsettle the visitor, which had made as many as seven changes in the team that ensured the title by winning the last outing 2-0 against Salgaocar FC.

Mohun Bagan, which had outplayed Bengaluru FC 2-0 visiting the latter in the first phase, sought more goals looking to finish on a bright note. The lead was doubled in the 21st minute when Rodrigues found the net off a pass from Yusa. The lead was trebled in the 23rd minute as Sabrosa moved up from his defensive position to nod home a free-kick taken by Yusa. It was 4-0 before the half-hour mark as young Mallick sneaked in from behind to slot the ball home after Glen had missed the header while going for a Raju Gaekwad floater.

Glen got his second goal after the break in the 66th minute when he tapped home a fine cross from the hard-working and ever efficient Yusa. Bagan and Glen earned a host of opportunities thereafter to enhance the scoreline even further but waywardness of the Trinidad and Tobago striker and efficiency of Amrinder Singh in the Bengaluru goal prevented the visitor from experiencing a bigger rout. Mohun Bagan ended the tournament with 30 points from 16 matches while Bengaluru FC topped with 32 points from its 16 outings.

The result: Mohun Bagan 5 (Cornell Glen 8, 66, Lenny Rodrigues 21, Luciano Sabrosa 23, Azharuddin Mallick 28) bt Bengaluru FC 0.

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