The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Bagan edge past Bhratri
Lolendra scored the first goal

Calcutta: Mohun Bagan managed a 2-1 victory against Bhratri Sangha in their opening IFA Shield match on Friday in Haldia. After taking the lead in the 35th minute, the green-maroon brigade conceded the equaliser in the 55th minute.

However, they pressed hard for the winner and clinched it with five minutes to go.

After the cross-piece denied them a couple of times in the first 15 minutes, Lolendra Singh gave Mohun Bagan the lead. His free-kick from about 25 yards stunned the rival ’keeper.

The glamour outfit, however, looked a bit complacent after that and conceded the equaliser ten minutes into the second session. A free-kick from just outside the box rebounded off the Bagan wall, and Ohidul Islam’s snap shot from close beat the custodian.

A stunned Mohun Bagan went all out in attack, egged on by a packed crowd. They clinched the issue when Rennedy Singh’s free-kick from the left was booted in by Harpreet Singh from close.

Mohun Bagan coach rued the absence of regulars — Jose Ramirez Barreto, Mehtab Hossain and Basudeb Mondal. “We’ll be back in full strength in our next game against Railway FC on September 22,” the coach said. He felt the absence of Barreto did make a difference. “He’s such a good player and you are bound to feel his absence.”

“Manitombi Singh missed three sitters and that didn’t help our cause,” the coach added.

Ashim Biswas return

Mukherjee sounded confident of having Ashim Biswas back in the squad in the IFA Shield itself. “He has responded very well to treatment and is practising with the squad,” Mukherjee said.

“If the physio gives the go-ahead, we plan to have him for the final (provided Mohun Bagan goes so far),” the coach informed.

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