Calcutta: Mohun Bagan managed to shed their early season jitters when they walloped Army XI 3-0 in the Calcutta Football League Premier Division championship round, at Barasat Stadium, on Thursday.
That Army XI offered all the resistance of a wet tissue paper is another matter. Ram Malik, Eric Muranda and Sabeeth Sathyan scored the goals in the first half.
A comfortable cushion prompted Mohun Bagan to take things a little easy in the second session. Coach Karim Bencharifa, however, was satisfied with Bagan’s overall performance.
“It’s important to win… We should guard against complacency,” said Bencharifa.
“All teams put in an extra effort against the big teams… We did well to ward off their challenge. I was satisfied with the performance of some of the players while there were a few who flopped…” he explained.
Bencharifa said he was aiming to build a pool of at least 20 players, who would come in handy in the long run. Thursday’s performance is sure to come as a huge positive in his endeavour.
Bagan scored as early as the 14th minute. Eric latched on to Sabeeth’s back head and ran a good 25 yards down the left flank before the shot was palmed away by the goalkeeper. Malik, who was lurking nearby, slotted it home.
Eric struck 11 minutes later from a free kick. It landed in the right corner of the net.
Eight minutes before halftime, Bagan struck again. A Malik-Eric combination culminated in Sabeeth lobbing the ball over the advancing goalie.
Eric was impressive in the second session as well. A Sabeeth cross from the right was shot over by Eric from handshaking distance. Another Eric shot ricocheted off the goalie before hitting the far post in the 69th minute.
Army XI could have reduced the margin had M. Dileep not shot wide from a penalty in the second half. That apart, their best chance came when Dileep’s volley was saved by a diving Shilton Paul.
Mohun Bagan: Shilton Paul, Aiborlang Khongjee, Anyichie Echezon, Kingshuk Debnath, Wahid Md Sali, Denson Devadas, Adarsh Lala Tamang (Argha Chakraborty, 43), Sabeeth Sathyan (Sankar Oraon, 83), Zakeer Mundampara, Eric Muranda (Katsumi Yusa, 82), Ram Malik.
Army XI: A.K. Balwant, T.L. Kuki, Dileep M., Anthony Chetri, Santu Subba, Arjun Tudu, Lalramnein Gmawaia (Rockey Kom, 74), T.V.Vipin, Shadip Rai, C.Lallianmawia, D.K. Mahato
Referee: Goutam Chakrabarty