Mohun Bagan Super Giant thrashes 10-men NorthEast United 3-1
The Highlanders opened the scoreline with incredible individual brilliance from Phalguni Singh but could not carry forward the momentum into the ultimate result. Deepak Tangri, Jason Cummings, and Subhasish Bose’s goal contributions played a pivotal role in the Mariners’ three-point prowess in Matchday 10 of the Indian Super League.
Juan Pedro Benali surprised everyone with three big changes including the dismissal of the club captain Romain Philippoteaux onto the substitute bench in favor of Palestinian defender Yaser Hamed.
The Highlanders’ boss also introduced two teenage midfielders Macarton Louis Nickson and Huidrom Thoi Singh to make the maiden ISL start of their careers at the expense of Gani Nigam and the suspended Asheer Akhtar.
In the absence of Juan Ferrando, interim coach Clifford Miranda handed the first start of the season to Deepak Tangri who recently led them against Maziya at the AFC Cup as Anirudh Thapa and Manvir Singh regained fitness bringing positivity to the Mariners’ camp.
Right after the kick-off whistle by the referee Harish Kundu, Highlanders launched their first attack and cleared their intentions of leaving no stone unturned on home turf. Mohammed Bemammer’s fired shot from the out of the box was deflected by Bradon Hamill and resulted in the first corner of the night.
The early set-pieces boosted the NorthEastern spirits to continue their search for the breakthrough and Benali’s boys enjoyed the success in the very next move. It was Phalguni Singh who barged into the MBSG guard with the ball and turned the progressive move into goal-scoring prowess all by himself. Vishal Kaith stretched his hands to the limits but still couldn’t stop the Manipuri assailant’s thunderous strike from opening the scoreline to 1-0 for the home team.
The hosts continued to dominate the initial stage of the match, knitting goal-scoring opportunities from both wings. It took time for the Kolkata-based to recover from the early crisis and gather themselves up to set out for the equalizing goal after settling down with adequate ball possession.
An unorganized defensive line and a couple of blunders eventually daunted NorthEast’s intentions of defending the one-goal lead as the Mariners managed to score the equalizer in the 14th minute. Mirshad opted to punch away Liston Colaco’s direct free-kick instead of collecting and Tangri who unintentionally attracted the ball to his face ended up gracing his name on the scoresheet.
The Guwahati-based club lost momentum after giving a crucial lead so easily and the MBSG attack selectively countered it to take a commanding position in the 28th minute of the game. Armando Sadiku received a penetrating cross from Thapa in a decisive position and selflessly passed it to his attacking inmate Jason Cummings who justified it with a simple finish to make it 2-1.
Tangri received a yellow card for his undue physical challenge on Macarton marking it as the final event before the half-time break. The Highlanders returned to the Guwahati battlefield for the second-half play with a redeemed energy to even the scoreline which was evident from the action of the first few minutes.
However, an unfortunate event took place in the 54th minute which made circumstances even more difficult for the home team and completely sidelined them from the game. Benali’s men played the remaining game with only 10 men on the pitch as Tondonba Singh’s second yellow card offence saw the Manipuri defender walk off the pitch while Bemammer was booked with yellow for making post-foul arguments.
Benali had to make multiple substitutions in order to fill the voids left by Tondonba and keep their hopes of bouncing back thoroughly alive. Amidst the gaffer’s arrangement of sustaining the competitiveness, the Green and Maroon Brigade came up with another successful attack in the 70th minute to inch closer to three points.
The NorthEast United defense looked clueless when Colaco released a through ball for his captain and upon collecting it, Subhasish Bose made no mistake in doubling the lead.
The substitutions made by Miranda also managed to outclass the hosts as the likes of Manvir Singh and Dimitri Petratos continued the domination in the final minutes to finish at the final scoreline of 3-1.
This triumph is a major confidence booster for the Mariners after their AFC Cup exit as their deficit with the table-toppers Goa is also reduced to only one point. The Green and Maroon Brigade will be now heading towards the country’s financial capital to face arch-rivals Mumbai City on Wednesday.
On the other hand, NorthEast United has missed a golden opportunity to enter the Top 6 as their position in the 7th spot prolongs with 10 points from 10 games. Benali’s boys will be engaged in an intense battle with another mid-table counterpart Bengaluru at Sree Kanteerava Stadium in the early kick-off on Christmas Eve.