I-League: Diawara brace sinks Chennai City, Mohun Bagan remains on top

Papa Babacar Diawara's brace steered Mohun Bagan to a hard-fought 3-2 win over Chennai City in the I-League on Friday.

Mohun Bagan

Mohun Bagan's Papa Babacar Diawara (number 9) nods in his side's first goal in the 3-2 win over Chennai City in the I-League on Friday.   -  I-League

Mohun Bagan consolidated its lead at the top of the I-League 2019-20 table with a hard-fought 3-2 win over defending champion Chennai City FC in their clash at the Nehru Stadium here on Friday.

The home side knew it was up against a formidable opponent but its men played without fear. It looked solid for in both attack and defence and underlined its class with a gutsy show. The Mariners did likewise and proved to be the superior side on the evening.

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The opening half saw both teams struggle to create chances from open play and relied largely on set-pieces. Both sides had their share of the corners and there were quite a few crosses that went agonisingly close to the net. After holding fort for most part, Chennai City finally succumbed to the pressure as Mohun Bagan found two goals in the space of two minutes.

Senegal’s Papa Babacar Diawara, who was left unmarked, headed home Joseba Beitia's beauty of a cross from the left to put Bagan ahead in the 27th minute. Spaniard Francisco Javier Gonzalez fashioned a similar one off a juicy cross from Joseba Beitia, two minutes later, to make it 2-0.

It did upset the home side's rhythm for a brief period but Akbar Nawas' men held their heads high and created a couple of fine chances before the interval.

The second session saw Mohun Bagan further extend its lead as Diawara completed his brace in ghe 49th minute. However, that did not deter the spirit of the Chennai City men. They came back roaring to score two goals in the space of four minutes to throw open the contest.

N. Vijay, who came on for Jan Muzangu, fired home a long ranger in the 65th minute and Jishnu Balakrishnan reduced the margin further with an equally pleasing shot four minutes later.

And the pressure was beginning to show on the visiting side, but it held its nerve all the way to stay firmly at the top.

The result:

Chennai City FC 2 (N. Vijay 64, Jishnu Balakrishnan 69) lost to Mohun Bagan 3 (Papa Babacar 27 & 49, Javier Gonzalez 29)