The Mariners still available for contendership, Churchill knee deep in relegation mud pool.
Mohun Bagan still have a silver lining in the sky as they still can win their second I-League cup after they defeated Churchill Brothers 1-2 at their own backyard at the Tilak Maidan in Vasco in Hero I-League on Saturday. Mohun Bagan went past Kingfisher East Bengal in points tally as they are now third in the table.
Nikhil Kadam(54’) and Akram Moghrabi(76’) rallied the goals for The Mariners as Osagie Monday(74’) scored an consolation for the Red Machines.
Both the sides played an cautious game as the players were confined in the middle to deny each other’s chances.
At the 10th minute, Mariners had a chance to go ahead in the tie when Nikhil Kadam ran down the right flank before crossing it to Dicka. Dicka managed to pass it to Akram Moghrabi whose cheeky back heel couldn’t cause any change in the scoreline.
Siyo had an ultimate chance when he was completely unmarked by Bagan’s defence and when Britto crossed the ball to Siyo he headed the ball over the bar.
At the 35th minute, home crowd went uproaring and celebrating before Referee quietens and choked the crowd when Churchill Brothers took the lead by a header from Osagie Monday. The referee blew the whistle and pointed his hand for a free kick as Frincis brought down Kingsley Obumneme before Osagie Monday scoring in. The referee denied the goal.
Churchill Brothers had a chance in dying minutes of first half. Gurung played a long ball before been clumsily cleared by Bagan’s defence. The ball fell in the range of Siyo as he took an ineffective shoot from the edge of penalty box which lacked accuracy.
First half remained goalless and both teams walked with heavy hearts out of the field.
Mohun Bagan drew the first blood in the 54th minute. Dipanda Dicka who missed a chance to score after the break assisted Nikhil Kadam who fired the ball into the hole to give The Mariners lead at 54th minute.
Home team created an chance when the substitute Nicolas Fernandes who came in for Bektur Uulu took the shot and Shilton Paul made a save.
Alfred Fernandes made a move as he called in Pawan Kumar in place of Siyo. Pawan Kumar was added in defence as Osagie Monday went up in the field. That move paid them when in 74th minute Cessay played with Nicolas Fernandes before the latter one sailed the ball over the defence to unmarked man Osagie Monday who tapped the ball inside the post to award home team an equaliser.
But the fortune played hide and seek with Churchill Brothers as Mohun Bagan went up ahead in the game again two minutes later as Lebanese man Akram Moghrabi converted the cross from substitute SK Faiaz. The Mariners took the lead in 76th minute.
Churchill notched up an chance as Cessay broke the Bagan’s defence but couldn’t get the ball past the goal-line as Shilton Paul made a brilliant save to deny the chance.
Mohun Bagan would be playing Gokulam Kerala on 6th March while Churchill Brothers would be locking their horns with table toppers Minerva Punjab FC on 8th March which would also be the title decider.
Mohun Bagan are now third in the table with 30 points from 17 matches passing Kingfisher East Bengal who are now fourth in the league with 29 points from two matches remaining. Churchill Brothers would be playing seeking desperately an win to cut out of the relegation zone.