| A Port Trust defender tries to stop Mohun Bagan’s George Ekeh during their Super Division championship leg match on Saturday. Picture by Santosh Ghosh
Calcutta, Sept. 14: Mohun Bagan returned to the winning trail in the championship leg of the Calcutta Football League’s Super Division, scoring once in each half against Calcutta Port Trust on Saturday.
For the defending champions, the 2-0 win, thanks to Jose Ramirez Barreto’s 24-minute penalty-kick and George Ekeh’s polished finish soon after the breather, was sweet revenge for their 0-1 loss in the first leg. However, despite the win Bagan, with 19 points from 10 matches, face a difficult task in retaining their crown. With East Bengal and Mohammedan Sporting in a close race for top spot, Bagan, who lost 1-2 to Tollygunge Agragami in their last match, have to keep winning during the rest of the league to have even an outside chance of keeping the title.
Subrata Bhattacharya’s side took control of the match right from the beginning and came close to opening the account as early as the third minute. Ekeh’s angled square pass across the box from the right saw both Basudeb Mondal and Amar Ganguly selling a dummy to each other, with the Port Trust goalkeeper Sanjib Guha standing at their mercy. In the 19th minute, Guha made heavy weather of an innocuous clearance and gave away the ball to Barreto. The Brazilian lobbed the ball towards an unprotected goal and missed the target.
Five minutes later, Mohun Bagan took the lead when Barreto was tripped inside the box. Referee Subrata Das made no hesitation in awarding a penalty and Barreto converted it, fooling the goalkeeper to move towards the wrong side.
The lead was extended two minutes into the second session through a brilliant Ekeh move. Four Port Trust defenders had a check on the Nigerian when he had received a left-wing Lolendra Singh cross inside the rival box. With a deft outstep, he steered clear of two defenders and with another turn, he made room for himself to take a low right-footed grounder, which left Guha clueless.
Sitting pretty on a 2-0 cushion, Subrata replaced Basudeb with teenager Sunil Chhetri and pushed Ekeh to his rearguard. With Lolendra and Santosh Singh often moving up down the flanks, he had a few options tested before the match against arch-rivals East Bengal on Tuesday.
Mohun Bagan: Bivash Ghosh; Lolendra Singh, Kajol Bhattacharya, Dulal Biswas, Santosh Singh; Jayanta Sen, Basudeb Mondal (Sunil Chhetri, 81), Ajay Singh, Amar Ganguly (Gourab Dutta 18); George Ekeh, Jose Ramirez Barreto.
Calcutta Port Trust: Sanjib Guha; Somen Sarkar, Bijoy Pal, Rabi Karmakar, Srimanta Das; Sanjit Saha, Kaushik Prasad, Bastab Roy, Pronit Roy (Sujit Dey, 35), Sanjib Ghosh (Santanu Chakraborty 58), Amar Pyne (Amit Roy, 49).
Referee: Subrata Das.