A far superior Mohun Bagan thrashed newcomers Minerva Punjab FC 4-0 in a third round I-League football match at the Rabindra Sarovar Stadium on Tuesday to go top of the league table.
Bagan dominated the tie from the start with Scottish striker Darryl Duffy (16th minute, 32nd) notching up his second consecutive brace. Indian international Jeje Lalpekhlua (28th, 77th) scored two as well in his first start for the Kolkata giants.
With their third consecutive win, Mohun Bagan jumped to the top of the table with three points from as many matches.
Haitian star Sony Norde made his first appearance for Mohun Bagan in the tournament and took the opponents by storm with his trickery on the ball.
Minerva’s best chance came in the second half when Nigerian Victor Amobi curled in an effort which Bagan goalkeeper Debjit Mazumdar tipped away only as far as the crossbar.
Norde hit the post too in the second period and came close to scoring with a blazing attempt from inside the box.
Duffy benefited off a Norde free kick to score Bagan’s first goal from close, with Jeje then tapping in a Subhashish Bose cross from the left flank to make it 2-0.
Duffy was at it again, making the most of a defensive error from Minerva defender Loveday Okechukwu, to poke it in after receiving a long ball from midfielder Katsumi Yusa from the centre of the pitch.
At the interval, Bagan led 3-0. The script did not change after the break with Norde hitting the post after some mazy footwork.
It was 4-0 in the 77th minute. Loveday was at fault again, this time not helping his keeper who fell while clearing the ball, allowing Jeje to push it in.
In another match, hosts Aizawl FC won their second consecutive home match, beating Shillong Lajong 2-1.
Lalruatthara and Jayesh Rane found the target for the home team while Yuta Kinowaki scored from the penalty spot in the later stage of the game to minimise the gap for Shillong.
Aizawl defender Lalruatthara tackled Redeem Tlang five minutes into the match to concede a penalty for the away team but goalkeeper Albino Geovanni blocked Lajong forward Fabio Pena’s effort.
Aizawl went ahead in the 31st minute when Lalruatthara tapped the ball home from close range. They went into the break with the 1-0 lead and increased the margin in the 63rd minute.
Rane scored his first goal for Aizawl when Syrian midfielder Mahmoud Al-Amna outran defenders in the left flank and crossed for Rane to convert.
Aizawl conceded a second penalty in the 83rd minute and Kinowaki converted the chance. Aizawl jumped seven points from three matches, while Shillong lost for the third consecutive time.