Mohun Bagan, East Bengal play out a drab draw
Salgaocar score morale-boosting win
Mohun Bagan and East Bengal played out a drab goalless draw in the return leg I-League derby which was watched by just one fourth capacity crowd at Yuba Bharati Krirngan (YBK) here on Saturday.
The much-hyped clash failed to live up to the expectation as only about 30,000 crowd turned up for the match, exactly two months after the same venue had witnessed ugly fan violence that had led to Bagan’s ban only to be revoked later by the AIFF.
There was no scope for any fan violence this time as most of them stayed away while the players of both the teams put up an uninspiring show at YBK where security arrangements were tight.
In fact, at some stands of the 120,000 capacity stadium, the Khaki-clad men outnumbered the spectators, something rarely noticed in any high profile derby.
East Bengal remained on the pole position with 40 points from 20 matches, while Bagan have six from 15.
On paper, it was a battle of unequals with East Bengal perched on the top of the table against their bitter rivals, Bagan, fighting to avoid relegation at the bottom spot.
But on the field Bagan had the edge, missing one free-kick in the first half and they were also unlucky as Kerala referee Santosh Kumar refused to award a penalty kick after East Bengal defender Uga Okpara handled the ball inside the box.
In the best chance of an otherwise listless match, Bagan got a free-kick in the 32nd minute just outside East Bengal box and Odafa Okolie’s rightfooter beat Abhijit Mondal but only to hit the far post.
Minutes after the changeover, East Bengal defender Uga Okpara handled the ball inside the box from a Tolgay Ozbey shot but the referee turned down a penalty kick appeal much to the dismay of Bagan players.
The much-hyped Odafa-Tolgay combination failed to live up to the expectations as there was little movement from the midfield.
East Bengal, on the other hand, put up an uninspiring show as their was little intent from their attackers as well as midfielders.
Salgaocar beat Lajong
Salgaocar scored a facile 2-0 win over Shillong Lajong to move away from the relegation zone in a tie at the Duler stadium, Mapusa.
While Lajong remained on 19 points from 20 matches, Salgaocar, who scored their second straight win, moved up the ladder with 20 points from 19 matches.
Salgaocar broke the deadlock in the 20th minute when a Wilkinson cross was headed in neatly by Josimar Martins.
Randeep Singh then increased the lead in the 39th minute when his free-kick dipped into the net.
A brace by James Moga and a stunner by Arata Izumi helped Pune FC drub Mumbai 3-0 in another tie in Pune.
Moga put Pune FC ahead in the 56th minute. He added the second in the 71st minute, while Izumi completed the tally in the 84th minute with a superb left-footer.