Mohun Bagan ended the 2013-14 Airtel I-League campaign on a high as they defeated Shillong Lajong 2-1 at the Salt Lake Stadium on Sunday evening.
Pankaj Moula put Mohun Bagan in front early in the first half and the Kolkata side could and should have led by more at the interval but their finishing was wasteful.
Shillong Lajong equalised at the hour mark through substitute Boithang Haokip but Christopher Chizoba ensured three points for the hosts with an excellent solo goal.
Mohun Bagan started brightly and opened the scoring when Ujjwal Howlader latched on to a loose ball following a tussle between Katsumi Yusa and Jibon Singh and crossed for Moula, who volleyed home.
It was all Mohun Bagan for the first quarter of the game as they kept getting behind the Lajong defence with ease. But either the finish or the final ball was lacking quality with Yusa also having a goal disallowed due to offside.
A minute later, Mohun Bagan’s Japanese went clean through on goal but Lajong custodian Lalthuammawia Ralte quickly came out of his goal and cleared.
Lajong finally came to life after the half-hour mark with Seikhohao Tuboi creating an opening for Cornell Glen, who could only hit his shot straight at Shilton Paul.
A few minutes later, a long ball from the back completely caught out the Mohun Bagan’s defence with Glen completely free and only Shilton to beat but the Trinidad & Tobago attacker uncharacteristically blasted his effort over the bar.
The half ended with CS Sabeeth and Chizoba squandering gilt-edged opportunities for Mohun Bagan.
The Mariners had the ball in the back of the net at the start of the second period but Sabeeth was rightly adjudged offside.
Lajong hit the woodwork through Subash Singh, who attempted a powerful strike while Glen once again failed to score after creating time and space for himself inside the Mohun Bagan box.
The north-east club finally equalised when Japanese Taisuke Matsugae sent Haokip through with a nice flick and the substitute slotted the ball past Shilton.
1-1 wasn’t a true reflection of the game but the green-and-maroon brigade came back strongly with Chizoba going close and Sabeeth striking the post.
Mohun Bagan regained their lead after a moment of individual brilliance from Chizoba. The Nigerian went past a couple of Lajong defenders in an amazing solo run before finding the back of the net with a clinical finish.
There were very few chances for either team in the final ten minutes but Mohun Bagan looked more likely to score again. Lajong’s best opportunity came from a Milan Singh freekick in stoppage time but Minchol Son headed wide as Karim Bencherifa’s side held on for the victory