Mohun Bagan started their Durand Cup campaign in style by winning 2-0 over Mohammedan Sporting Club at the Saltlake Stadium. Spanish striker Salva Chamorro scored both the goals with impeccable headers.
It was raining heavily before start of the game and continued after the kick off as well. Mariners started attacking right from the word go. Joseba Beitia showed his class when he sent a curler from a set piece from the right side of the pitch and Salva Chamorro placed the ball into the net with an inch perfect header.
The Mariners were up by a goal in 2nd minute of the match. Beitia who was one of the best players on the pitch took control of midfield with his exceptional skills and distribution. He was ably supported by wingbacks Ashutosh Mehta and Dhanachandra Singh.
Mohammedan Sporting tried to build some attacks but an alert Fran Morante foiled their efforts.
The second goal for the Mariners came in the 22nd minute mark through an exceptional build up. Sheikh Sahil provided the ball to Romario Jesuraj who in turn passed the ball to Surabuddin Mollick, who released the ball towards the right wing and Ashutosh Mehta sent a perfect cross for Salva Chamorro who thankfully nodded the ball home to provide a 2 goal lead to the Mariners.
Mariners controlled the pace of the game for rest of the first half and got few chances but could not capitalize. At the lemon break Mariners were leading by two goals.
Mohammedan Sporting started the second half with greater vigour and started to put more pressure on Mohun Bagan defence. Youngster Sheikh Sahil and Fran Morante stood tall and did not allow free space to any opposition player. First change of the match came in the 58th minute when Fran Gonzalez was introduced in place of another Spaniard Fran Morante. Salva Chamorro got an opportunity at the hour mark but his header missed the target by a whisker. Kibu brought in Imran Khan in place of Nongdamba Naorem in 65th minute.
Mohammedan Sporting created back to back chances but Shilton Paul saved the day for the Mariners. Youngstar Sheikh Sahil, who sustained a niggle, was replaced by Sheikh Faiaz.
This was a period when Mohammedan Sporting players got ample space in the middle of the pitch and Tirthankar Sarkar missed the best chance of the day to reduce the margin when he could not beat onrushing Shilton Paul and ball went wide. The match ended in 2-0 score.
Salva Chamorro got a deserving Man of the Match award. Mariners got vociferous support from the stands which was acknowledged by the players at the end of the game.
The Mariners will next face Peerless SC in a CFL – Premier Division ‘A’ match on August 5 at the Mohun Bagan ground at 3pm.