Kolkata, Feb 18 (IANS) Mohun Bagan rode Balwant Singh’s two goals in two minutes to edge past DSK Shivajians 3-1 and go level on points with cross-town football rivals East Bengal at the top of the I-League table at the Rabindra Sarovar Sadium on Saturday.
Balwant — preferred ahead of Jeje Lalpekhlua in the starting XI — scored in the 42nd and 44th minute after Milan Singh had given the visitors a well-deserved lead in the 33rd minute.
Yusa Katsumi put the match beyond doubt with a goal from the spot in the 89th minute.
Bagan are now on 21 points from nine outings while Shivajians remained sixth with 10 points from the same number of ties.
One minute’s silence was observed for the Bagan faithful who breathed his last while returning from the Kolkata derby in a train accident recently.
The visitors wore a defensive look packing their midfield with five men. Bagan got the home crowd going in the 10th minute when Pronay Halder released Balwant on the left hand channel but the striker could only muster a corner.
Playmaker Juan Quero was looking good for the visitors and in the 18th minute waltzed around Bagan players to earn a free kick.
The first real chance of the half fell to Shivajians when Sumeet Passi swivelled sharply to find Quero who drew keeper Debjit Mazumdar out of his line and save well.
Bagan defence were at sixes and sevens and their midfield lacked vision. Norde, dogged by his knee injury, looked off the boil.
Rightly, the Dave Rogers side took the lead. Milan tucked in from close after the impressive Quero beat Eduardo Ferreira with his trickery and pace to set him up.
Stung by the goal, coach Sanjoy Sen brought in Prabir Das in place of Sehnaj Singh.
Three minutes to half-time, Bagan equalised as full-back Pritam Kotal whipped in a cross from the right which Subrata Paul got a hand to but only as far as Balwant who nodded in.
There was more joy for the green and maroon brigade in the 44th minute when Balwant scored a peach of a goal from another Kotal cross.
In the second half, Bagan looked a completely different side with Norde operating in full tilt. The Haitian international first set up Duffy and then Katsumi but both failed to do anything of note.
In the dying minutes, substitute Jeje was brought down inside the box by Gouramangi with Katsumi making no mistake from the resultant penalty.