Record Federation Cup champions Mohun Bagan AC steamrolled Shillong Lajong FC 5-0 in the first-leg of their semifinal at the Barasat Municipal Stadim in Kolkata tonight.
Shillong Lajong kicked off the first-half having made just two changes in the starting line-up from the previous match by bringing on Rupert Nongrum and Uilliams Souza. The first chance of the match fell for Rupert Nongrum after he found himself with a lot of space on the right wing but his effort did not trouble the keeper. Lajong were mixing their attack from the wings through Rupert and Isaac while Penn and Boithang tried to break the defence from midfield in search of Brazilian duo Fabio and Uilliams.
The Home side Mohun Bagan looked dangerous as usual with Glen, Jeje, Katsumi and Sony Norde combining in attack. Penn Orji of Lajong had a good chance to shoot from outside the box in the 20th minute but his shot went over the bar. Mohun Bagan had good opportunities to take the lead with chances falling for Glen and Jeje but the Lajong youngsters made sure it wasn’t going to be easy for the attackers. Cornell Glen had a shot on goal in the 33rd minute but his shot went high over the bar.
The constant attack by the Mariners paid dividend in the 40th minute, when Sony Norde cut through a couple of defenders and took a shot which was met by Vishal Kaith’s outstretched arm but the rebound fell kindly for Jeje to slot the ball into the goal. Just before the first-half ended, a one–two move by Jeje and Glen led to Bikramjit finding space and scoring in the 45th minute of the match.
After going into the second session with a 2-0 lead, Mohun Bagan looked more dangerous than in the first-half. Glen found his name in the scoresheet in the 51st minute that gave Mohun Bagan the 3-0 lead. The home team played with superior confidence and Lajong lacked the quality to get back in the game making a lot of mistakes.
Jeje completed his brace in the 56th minute courtesy an assist from Glen and Mohun Bagan were cruising to a massive victory leading by four goals. The Mariners felt the game was won and rested Glen and Pranoy. Lajong had a couple of good opportunities to score but were unlucky and the Mariners defended well at the back.
Lajong replaced Boithang with Hardy and Uilliams with Bipin to try and get something out of the away fixture. Mohun Bagan however proved too good for Lajong as they scored their fifth goal in the 86th minute after a brilliant assist by Sony Norde for Azharuddin Mallick to delight the home crowd.
A bad day for Lajong in Kolkata today and they will now have a mountain to climb in the second-leg of the semifinal when they host Mohun bagan on May 14 May in Shillong, if they are to reach the finals.