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Mohun Bagan extend lead atop with Churchill Brothers revenge

The Green and Maroon brigade spoil the title race for both Punjab and Churchill Brothers…

Papa Diawara (6′), Suhair VP (50′), Komron Tursunov (58′) helped Mohun Bagan to a 3-0 win over Churchill Brothers at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Fatorda, Goa, on Saturday.

The Kolkata giants hence avenged the 4-2 defeat in the first leg and now see themselves 11 points clear atop the I-League 2019-20 standings as the Red Machines  remain two behind second-placed Punjab FC (21 points).

Churchill coach Bernardo Tavares brought in Ponif Vaz in place of suspended Robert Primus and with Dhanachandra Singh suspended for the visitors, Kibu Vicuna included Daneil Cyrus in his 11 while Gurjinder Kumar replaced Tursunov to adhere to the five foreigners rule.

Suhair VP tested Sukhadev Patil once before Bagan got one past the Churchill goalkeeper as Diawara got the final touch after Fran Gonzalez headed a Joseba Beitia free-kick across the face of goal in the sixth minute.

It was only after the 25th minute that the home side begun finding some inroads with Dawda Ceesay playing a lob to Willis Plaza on an occasion that attracted goalkeeper Sankar Roy off his line. The Trinidadian laid it off for Lalkhawpuimawia but Gonzalez made a crutial intevention.

Plaza had two chances that befell him around the half hour mark, once pulling ahead of Fran Morante and Ashutosh Mehta but making the angle tougher for himself before seeing his shot wide of the far post in the 32nd minute, and then forcing a save from Roy off a firm right-footer from ouside the box.

Socrates Pedro nearly scored the equalised early in the second half but his header would land on top of the crossbar after Plaza headed Ceesay’s cross towards the Angolese attacker in the 47th minute.

However, Bagan made the task more daunting by building a three-goal cushion for themselves by the 58th minute. Suhair took the ball from Diawara and made a shunting run inside the box where he went unchallenged by Radanfah Abu Bakr as his right-footer bulged the net in the 50th minute while Bagan’s second half substitute Tursunov tapped in a Gurjinder cross from the left to take the game away from the Goans.

The Mariners kept up to their surge for a fourth as Diawara forced a save from Patil, was blocked ahead of the goalline by Vaz and then off the upright after Gonzalez’ attempt from Beitia’s resultant corner in the 75th minute. Substitute Subha Ghosh also forced Patil into effecting a save in the 87th minute.

Plaza turned a header on target with Roy behind it in the last piece of action on the evening but Bagan had far won the battle.

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