I-League 2018-19: Mohun Bagan struck one each on either side of the break to blank defending champions Minerva Punjab 2-0 and return to winning ways in the I-League in Kolkata on Wednesday. Also Read - I-league Wonder Team Real Kashmir Set For Crucial Test Against ATK in Super Cup
Man of the Match Omar El Hussieny converted from the spot at the halfway mark, while Dipanda Dicka completed the tally in the 69th minute on his comeback match. Also Read - FIFA President Gianni Infantino Congratulates Chennai City FC on Winning The I-League 2018-19 Campaign
It was a winning start for head coach Khalid Jamil, who joined the Mariners at short notice after Shankarlal Chakraborty stepped down following their back-to-back defeats. Also Read - Rift in East Bengal Widens Over Super Cup Pullout
The win kept Mohun Bagan’s slender title hopes alive as they remained sixth on the table with 18 points from 12 matches, while Minerva Punjab are a spot below them with 13 points from as many games.
Mohun Bagan next face Neroca in three days’ time, before the return leg derby on January 27.
Jamil made as many as five changes from the side that suffered a 1-2 loss to Real Kashmir.
The I-League winning former Aizawl FC coach preferred Dipanda Dicka over Henry Kisekka, and he also brought in Azharuddin Mallick, Darren Caldeira, Gurjinder Kumar and Dalraj Singh in the starting line-up.
The new-look Mohun Bagan side appeared rejuvenated under Jamil as the home side completely dominated the first half at the Salt Lake Stadium, and went ahead through a penalty.
Lancine Toure brought down Dipanda inside the box and Omar calmly slotted the ball into the net with Minerva goalkeeper Bhaskar Roy going the wrong way.
Minerva missed the services of William Opoku big time as their attack lacked bite.
They had no shot at goal in the first half and struggled to keep the possession.
Mohun Bagan continued their domination in the second half as well with Yuta Kinowaki and Omar winning the midfield battle against Minerva.
Sony Norde set up the second ball with a sublime through ball that bisected the two center-backs before reaching Dipanda.
The Cameroonian forward kept his head down and calmly shot the ball with only Roy to beat in front of him.
In the 74th minute, Mohun Bagan could have increased their tally but Roy dived to his left to deny Omar after the Egyptian was brilliantly set up by Yuta Kinowaki just at the edge of the box.