Kolkata, January 21: East Bengal lost their 'home' 2017-18 I-League Kolkata derby to arch-rivals Mohun Bagan 0-2 at the Vivekananda Yuvabharati Krirangan (Salt Lake Stadium) on Sunday (January 21).
Aser Pierrick Dipanda Dicka scored a brace with his first one coming inside first two minutes. The second goal, in the 35th minute, shut shop for the Green and Maroons, who won the bragging rights this season by winning both legs of the derby.
Both sides fielded their new signings up top. Dudu Omagbemi joined Willis Plaza up front as Jobby Justin was dropped. Armand Bazie and Laldanmawia Ralte made way as Mohammed Rafique was given a chance by Khalid Jamil.
Sankarlal Chakraborty, in his first derby as head coach of Bagan, breathed a sigh of relief as his first choice goalkeeper, Shilton Paul, was deemed fit. Lebanese striker Akram Moghrabi made his debut in a familiar 4-4-2 system.
It took only two minutes for Dipanda Dicka to open the scoring. Raynier Fernandes beat both Mahmoud Al Amna and Willis Plaza to start the move from the back. Nikhil Kadam then drifted off wide to send in a cross for Moghrabi in the box. He headed in down beautifully for the Cameroonian to shoot in from his first touch.
The afternoon turned worse for East Bengal as Al Amna was struggling to play on and Jamil had to make his first alteration as early as in the fourth minute, bringing on Armand Bazie with Prakash Sarkar drifting to the right side of midfield.
The game continued at a good pace as Mohun Bagan constantly kept attacking from the wings. Both new strikers Dudu and Moghrabi appeared a bit jaded for the respective clubs in their first match on Indian soil this season.
Much to the dismay of the Red and Golds faithful, Willis Plaza's goal from a header in the 27th minute was disallowed as Katsumi Yusa's delivery from the corner curled in from the outside the line.
Bagan doubled their lead in the 35th minute. Raynier Fernandes' pinpoint flag-kick was directed towards Dipanda on the far side of the goal. Arnab Mondal and Salam Ranjan Singh failed to mark the striker and the Bagan number nine leapt to score from a half-volley, going past a hapless Luis Barreto.
Dipanda was called offside within a few minutes of his brace with a move similar to the first goal. This time, Cameron Watson lobbed the ball in and Moghrabi laid down. But the ball had too much pace in it and Dipanda collided in with Barreto; both coming out unscathed.
Just on the stroke of half-time, Nikhil Kadam could have easily made it 3-0 but he scuffed up a chance with a one-on-one opportunity in front of the keeper as his weak shot was collected by Barreto.
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And, hold your breath, Sony Norde will be back in March to play Super Cup for Mohunbagan this season only ! pic.twitter.com/SG9eZlBNIN
Khalid Jamil took out Arnab Mondal and put in Cavin Lobo as Bazie was pushed to the left-back position. Salam Ranjan Singh played much better in the second half in a central role.
Rafique then failed to make a proper interception from a low cross from Yusa into the box in the 50th minute.
In the last 20 minutes of the game, Mohun Bagan dominated proceedings as Moghrabi's effort sailed over the bar from Dipanda's ball in the 73rd minute.
The energetic Nikhil Kadam was hard to contain in the last 10 minutes as he distributed good passes into the box but was failed by his forwards. His wasteful nature hurt his goal return as he had nothing to show even as he hit the bar from a one-on-one situation with the 'keeper yet again.
Bagan moved into the fourth spot with sixteen points from nine games. East Bengal remain third with nineteen points and trail leaders Minerva Punjab by three points but have played two games extra.
Match result: East Bengal 0 lost to Mohun Bagan 2 (Dipanda Dicka 1, 35)
Source: AIFF Media