Goals From Jeje, Norde Give Mariners Maiden Win In Bengaluru; Chhuantea Is Shown Red
A ten-man Bengaluru FC went down fighting after goals from Jeje Lalpekhlua and Sony Norde in the second half gave Mohun Bagan a 2-0 win over Ashley Westwood’s team at a packed Kanteerava Stadium, in Bengaluru, on Saturday. Bengaluru’s third loss of the campaign didn’t displace them from pole position on the table while Bagan, with 14 points, moved into second place with two games in hand.
Lalchhuanmawia and Thoi Singh found themselves starting ahead of Keegan Pereira and Siam Hanghal and didn’t have to try too hard to vindicate Westwood’s call. While Chhuantea was wreaking havoc down the left with his pace, Thoi was his usual self, chasing down and winning back every loose ball.
The Blues began the second half with a foot on the pedal with Thoi and Beikhokhei Beingaichho shooting wide from half-chances. Bagan soon had a chance of their own when Sony Norde slid Glenn down the left only for the No.13 to fire past the face of the goal.
But for all the threat that Chhuantea was causing in attack, a second booking while he was defending one in the 61st minute, saw Bengaluru reduced to 10 men. With the numbers against them, Bengaluru ended up conceding in the 73rd minute when Jeje, with the ball at his feet and in the box, chipped his shot beyond Amrinder Singh’s left. Bagan could have doubled their lead only minutes later when Kean Lewis took a shy at goal from 25 yards out only to see Amrinder smartly tip it over.
Chasing the game, Westwood threw in CK Vineeth for Kim Song Yong while Len Doungel came on for Thoi. The Blues had a big chance to equalise in the 90th minute after Doungel earned his side a freekick on the right. However, Beingaichho’s delivery was straight at ’keeper Debjit Majumder, much to the frustration of the bodies in the box. Throwing everything at Bagan, the Blues conceded their second against the run of play when Norde, picked in the box, scored past Amrinder to put the issue beyond doubt.
Bengaluru next travel to Laos where they begin their AFC Cup campaign against Lao Toyota on February 24,before resuming business in the I-League with a home fixture against Aizawl FC on February 28.