Kolkata, Jan 27 (IANS) City football giants Mohun Bagan defeated Tampines Rovers FC of Singapore 3-1 in an AFC Champions League qualifier at the Salt Lake Stadium here on Wednesday.
For Bagan, Jeje Lalpekhlua (5th minute), Trinidadian marksman Cornell Glen (41th) and Katsumi Yusa (83rd) got on the scoresheet. For the visitors, the only goal was headed in by Yasir Hanapi (43rd).
The hosts were quick to break the deadlock through Jeje. Haitian midfielder Sony Norde sprinted past a few defenders before back passing to Dhanachandra Singh. The left back sent in the ball for Jeje who flicked it into the net for his side’s opener much to the delight of the crowd.
A few minutes later, Norde wriggled past defenders to try his luck on goal but his strong shot was kept out by Rovers custodian Izwan Mahbud.
At the 35th minute mark, Glen was brought down inside the box by Kwon Jun and Bagan were awarded a penalty. It was the striker’s chance to increase the hosts’ lead, but his shot from the spot was thwarted acrobatically by Mahbud.
However, the Trinidadian striker made up for his lost opportunity six minutes later as he somehow managed to push the ball inside the rival net. But again the credit for the set up should be given to Norde who cut past five defenders before laying it on for Glen.
The visitors were quick to respond and within two minutes of Glen’s strike, they pulled one back through a header from Hanapi. The midfielder, who was lurking in the box got to a free-kick out jumping rival defenders before heading it home past Bagan goalkeeper Debjit Majumder.
Bagan led 2-1 at the break.
After the restart, there was drama at the 48th-minute mark. Christopher Huizen’s free-kick came off the back of his teammate Fazrul Nawaz and crept into Bagan’s net but the goal was disallowed as the latter was judged offside.
Thereafter, the Rovers tried to get the equaliser with shots coming in from all angles and spaces but none were able to test Majumder. One such shot has from Hanapi who booted the ball into the stands from close.
Bagan made the visitors pay again for the lost opportunities as Yusa found a third of the night for Sanjoy Sen’s men. It was again Norde who was in the thick of things. Prabir Das headed the Haitian’s corner across the face of goal and Yusa was there to tuck the ball into the net.