Mohun Bagan registered a convincing 3-0 win over Shillong Lajong in their I-League match at the JLN Stadium in Shillong on Saturday. Goals from Asier Dipanda, Akram Moghrabi and Sheikh Faiaz ensured a comfortable result that propelled them to the third spot on the table above rivals East Bengal.
The combination of Samuel Lalmuanpuia and Abdoulaye Koffi started up front for the home side once again. Saihou Jagne and Daniel Odafin provided ample support to the frontmen as Juho Oh and Laurence Doe were partnered in central defence in front of Lachenpa in goal.
Yuta Kinowaki returned to the starting lineup for Bagan after a lengthy layoff due to a collarbone injury. It was only his second start after he appeared against East Bengal on December 3. Akram Moghrabi and Asier Dipanda were tasked with leading the line as Cameron Watson, Kinowaki, Mallick and Nikhil Kadam populated the second line of four in front of trusted custodian Shilton Paul.
The first major chance of the game fell to Lajong when Rana Gharami fouled Saihou Jagne at the edge of the box in the 10th minute. Samuel's effort from the resulting free-kick was disappointed as the ball flew over the crossbar.
Mohun Bagan broke the deadlock at the half-hour mark through a well-taken corner. Cameron Watson's delightful kick of the ball was headed into the net by Asier Dipanda who was stationed at the far post.
Both sides spurned close-range chances to score before the half-time whistle. Novin Gurung had the goalmouth at his mercy but the fullback blasted his effort over the bar. At the other end, Faiaz failed to bury his effort from three yards out after he was fed through by Akram who was in an offside position.
A stunning free-kick effort by Samuel looked destined to hit the net if not for Shilton Paul's incredible save to preserve Bagan's lead.
An uneventful second-half was brought to life when Nikhil Kadam's free-kick was flicked inches over the bar by Akram who showed incredible strength to hold off his marker inside the box.
Samuel's teasing cross into the box from the right flank met the head of an unmarked Koffi who sent his effort wide from close-range in the 84th minute. Koffi's miss returned to haunt Lajong two minutes later as Mohun Bagan doubled their lead through Akram Moghrabi.
Second-half substitute Raynier Fernandes picked out the Lebanese forward's run into the box and Bagan's new recruit made no mistake in slotting the ball past a helpless Lachenpa.
The visitors hit the final nail in the home side's coffin in the 89th minute. Faiaz stole the ball on the left flank and embarked on a solo run that ended in a lovely finish to make it 3-0 and seal three points for his side.