Defending champions Mohun Bagan opened their I-League 2016 campaign with a comfortable 3-1 victory over new entrants Aizawl FC at the Barasat stadium in Kolkata on Saturday. The second match of the evening was played in Goa where hosts Salgaocar FC did not get the kind of start they wanted as they lost to Bengaluru FC. The Blues won the match 2-1 and continued their fine run of form.
I-League game 1- Mohun Bagan vs Aizawl FC: Glen scores brace to script a perfect beginning for the Mariners
The opening match of I-League 2016 saw Mohun Bagan go head to head against Aizawl FC. The latter have been promoted to the elite division of the I-League after their impressive stint in the 2nd division last year. Bagan pretty much fielded the same squad as last year with players like Shilton Paul, Pritam Kotal, Kingshuk Debnath and Balwant Singh in the starting XI. On the other hand, Aizawl FC boasted of an array of young, exciting talent with experienced campaigners like goalkeeper Soram Poirei and Liberian striker Alfred Jaryan.
Playing with a standard 4-4-2 formation, the home side dominated the opposition early in the game as new recruit Cornell Glen was on target in the 3rd minute of the game. However, the shot lacked power and was hence kept away. Three minutes later, Glen was in the picture once again as the Trinidadian striker brilliantly slotted in Manish Bhargav’s cross from the left wing to score the first goal of I-League 2016. In the 16th minute, Mohun Bagan defender Pritam Kotal involuntary deflected an incoming ball into his own goal to bring the visitors back in the game.
Glen struck his second goal of the evening in the 22nd minute as he managed to find the back of the net with a right-footed shot from the penalty area. His striking partner Balwant Singh also joined the party in the 29th minute when he fired in another right-footer from the edge of the box. The game was all but lost for Aizawl as the score read 3-1 at the half-hour mark. The score remained the same at half-time.
Second half: Jaryan tries hard to equalize, Mohun Bagan pick up 3 important points
The story in the second half was no different as the duo of Cornell Glen and Balwant Singh breathed fire in the opponents’ goal area. Repeated attempts at the goal forced Aizawl FC to play a defensive game and there was a lot of pressure on Alfred Jaryan who waged a lone battle against the Mariners. He came close to scoring in the 67th minute but was denied by Kingshuk Debnath, the Mohun Bagan defender. Manuel Retamero’s side hardly troubled the opposition and as a result, lost the match 3-1. Sanjoy Sen will be elated after his team’s perfect start to their title defense.
Mohun Bagan 3 (Cornell Glen 6′ 22′, Balwant Singh 29′) beat Aizawl FC 1 (Pritam Kotal 16′ OG)