Karim Bencherifa’s outfit produced an emphatic display to register three points over the north eastern side…
Mohun Bagan took an important step towards qualifying for the semi-final as they romped past Shillong Lajong 6-0 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Kochi on Saturday. Odafa Okolie (10' and 77'), Christopher Chizoba (24' and 60'), Katsumi Yusa (31') and Ujjal Howladar (90+3') got on the scoresheet to seal three points for the Mariners.
Odafa could have scored in the very first minute but goalkeeper Lalthuammawia Ralte parried it for a corner.
In the following minute, the Lajong custodian fumbled to collect a cross by Zakeer Mundampara and just about managed to keep it from crossing the goal line.
Christopher Chizoba went for the far post after receiving a pass from Katsumi Yusa but Ralte once again was in the thick of things to avert the danger.
However it didn’t take long for Bagan to take the lead.
A goalmouth scramble following a corner taken by Yusa saw the ball nestle at the back of the net with Odafa providing the final touch.
Cornell Glen of Lajong wasn’t able to make the best of the opportunities that came his way from two corner-kicks.
Midway through the first half, Chizoba took on three defenders on the right to see his shot go past Ralte of the net from a 45-degree angle to double the Mariners’ lead.
It was Yusa’s turn to get on the scoresheet. He won the ball in the middle and exchanged a quick one-two with Chozoba before getting the better of Ralte in goal to make it 3-0.
Lajong could have conceded one more before the half-time whistle. Yusa found Odafa in the box however the Nigerian took far too long to shoot which allowed Ralte to block his shot. Off the rebound, Odafa couldn’t find the back of the net with Taisuke Matsugae putting in an important block.
The second half didn’t see any change in proceedings as the Kolkata outfit continued their dominance. Yusa forced a save from Ralte just two minutes after the break.
Odafa slipped in a pass between three defenders for Chizoba on the right but the latter ended up side netting in the 51st minute.
Mundampara’s effort came off the woodwork at the hour mark and in the same minute it was Chizoba made it 4-0 from the edge of the box after being set up by Yusa.
Odafa forced a save from Ralte in the 67th minute and ten minutes later made amends with a gem of a bicycle kick off a rebound after Bagan substitute Ujjal Howladar's attempt was blocked.
Milan Singh was also denied by a wonderful save by Bagan goalkeeper Shilton Paul who tipped the ball above his post to ensure a clean sheet.
Ujjal Howladar ended the rout by tapping in a cross from the right by Ram Malik. The scoreline read 6-0 for Bagan with Lajong left to wonder as to what had struck them.
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