Salgaocar FC was outdone by a fighting Mohun Bagan AC side in their first leg of the Hero Federation Cup fixture here at the Tilak Maidan in Vasco. Jeje Lalpekhlua’s (1′, 85′) brace aided by a strike from Abhishek Das (77′) secured the win for the away side while Martin Scott (26′) and Calvin Mbarga (31′) netted for the home side.
The Greens stadium fell into silence as Jeje netted the fastest goal thus far of the Fed Cup. Subhash Singh made a blazing run in the opening minute of the game down the right flank before sending a cross for the Indian international striker to head in. Darryl Duffy brought some life into the stand when in the 10th minute he send a free-kick whizzing passed the Bagan wall but just inches away from right post.
The Goan outfit restored parity in style via Scott in the 26th minute after the Scottish midfielder received a cross from Saran Singh before sending the bullet of a shot past Debjit Majumdar. It wasn’t more than 5 minutes later Calvin handed the lead that sent the entire stadium into frenzy. The striker headed home a lob ball from Duffy after he controlled the ball well in the Mariner’s box. The Goan outfit headed into the tunnel with a lead during half-time.
The Kolkata outfit were not going to give up without a fight and that was shown in their approach come second half. After stringing together multiple passes the away side had a close chance in the 58th minute when Yusa Katsumi sent a cross towards substitute Prabir Das who headed the ball just wide of the goal. In the 69th minute, a move initiated by Lenny Rodrigues saw Prabir square the ball to Jeje but the striker’s effort on the turn was saved by Karanjit Singh.
Another substitute who made his presence felt as soon as he stepped onto the pitch was Abhishek Das as he restored parity in the very same minute of his substitution. The match-winner was scored by the Hero of the Match Jeje in the 85th minute as he controlled Luciano Sabrosa’s pass to turn and beat Karanjit who unable to deny the striker on this occasion. The high-intensity game didn’t end before Duffy’s free-kick effort in the dying minutes of the game penetrated the wall; however Majumdar was alert enough to keep it out. As the final whistle was blown Mohun Bagan walked away with a 2-3 away victory.