I-League: Mohun Bagan opens up nine-point lead with win over Punjab

Mohun Bagan opened up a nine-point lead at the top of the table with a 1-0 win over Punjab FC in Kalyani, West Bengal on Sunday.

Baba Diawara

Baba Diawara scored the only goal, which sealed the win for Mohun Bagan. (File photo)   -  Twitter/I-League

Mohun Bagan cruised to its fourth consecutive win downing Punjab FC by a solitary goal in an I-League fixture at its home in Kalyani Stadium here on Sunday. The win helped Mohun Bagan consolidate its position on top of the table, opening up a nine-point lead over its closest challenger, Punjab FC.

Senegalese striker Babacar Diawara found the only goal of the encounter late in the first half to see the 2015 champion collect the full quota of points and stretch its unbeaten run to nine matches.

The host went for the kill early and opened up the flanks in an effort to feed Diawara in the box. But the Punjab FC defence held strong clearing away the Bagan provisions. V.P Suhair, partnering Diawara in the Bagan attack, came close to finishing first but saw his header, on a Joseba Beitia corner, going over in the 20th minute.

Match highlights | Mohun Bagan vs Punjab FC

Bagan almost found the target in the 39th minute when the Punjab FC’s Nepalese goalkeeper Kiran Chemjong fumbled while trying to clear a cross from Ashutosh Mehta. Suhair tried a snap header on the goal as the ball ricocheted off the opposition custodian but the doughty Brazilian midfielder Danilo Augusto cut it off from the line to keep Bagan waiting.

The Punjab FC defence finally gave in to the relentless Bagan efforts in the 42nd minute when Diawara reached a long throw-in from Dhanachandra Singh to nod home the lead.
Bagan went for greater glory after the break but failed to double the lead despite its best efforts. The host did find the mark for the second time in the 61st minute when its defender Francisco Morante flicked home a Beitia free-kick. But the goal was disallowed as the former was flagged off-side. Beitia had another good chance in the 77th minute but the Spaniard remained wayward and shot over from close range.

The result: Mohun Bagan 1 (Babacar Diawara 42) beat Punjab FC 0.
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