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Rampant Bagan turn on the style

Calcutta: Mohun Bagan thumped Lajong 6-0 in a Group C encounter at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, in Kochi, on Saturday to brighten their chances of making it to the semi-final of Federation Cup. Captain Okolie Odafe and compatriot Christopher Chizoba scored a brace each, while Katsumi Yusa and Ujjwal Howladar netted one each.

Both sides came into this game with full of confidence following wins in their opening games. But Mohun Bagan started with purpose as they tested Lajong goalkeeper Lalthuammawia Ralte thrice within the first seven minutes.

The deadlock was broken from a corner as Katsum’s delivery fell to Pankaj Moula whose tame shot was deflected into the back of the net by Odafe from close range. Lajong could have equalised from a Boithang Haokip flag-kick, but Cornell Glen’s header went over the bar. The Shillong club were winning plenty of set-pieces and Haokip kept producing quality deliveries, but none of his teammates could get on the end of it.

Mohun Bagan doubled their lead through Chizoba, who received a pass from Zakeer Mundampara and slotted the ball past Ralte after easily going past his marker.

Just after the half-hour mark it was 3-0 as Katsumi dispossessed Wailadmi Passah before being put clean through on goal by Chizoba and the Japanese coolly found the back of the net.

Even in the second half, the green-and-maroon brigade stayed wasteful with Chizoba finding side netting after rounding Ralte while Zakeer hit the bar.

But Mohun Bagan didn’t have to wait long for the fourth as at the hour mark Chizoba scored his third goal of the tournament following a nice through pass from Katsumi.

Karim Bencharifa’s side created plenty of chances in the final quarter and substitute Howladar completed the rout scoring his first-ever goal for the club in stoppage time much to Lajong’s embarrassment.

Later, Salgaocar FC edged past Mumbai FC 2-1. Mattthew Foschini gave the Goan outfit the lead which was cancelled by NP Pradeep at the start of the second half. However Gilbert Oliveira scored the winner to win three points for his side.

Salgaocar (three from two matches) next play Mohun Bagan (six points) and a win for the Goan club, coupled with Mumbai FC, who are yet to open their account, beating Lajong FC will see Karim’s men taking an early flight back home. But Lajong (three points) winning and Bagan losing will see goal-difference coming into play, since Bagan, Lajong and Salgaocar will be on six points.