Mohun Bagan managed to eke out a narrow 1-0 win over Punjab FC in an I-League encounter at the Kalyani Municipality Stadium on Sunday evening. Papa Diawara (42') netted in the fourth consecutive match to seal all the three points for the Green and Maroon brigade.
Kibu Vicuna opted to stick to the winning combination and did not make any changes to the side that won 3-2 against Chennai City.
Yan Law made three alterations to the line up from the previous match. Eze Kingsley was handed a start against his former team, Thoiba Singh slotted on the wings for Munmun Lugun and Danilo Azevedo relaced Teah Dennis in defence.
Mohun Bagan started on the front-foot with Joseba Beitia and Komron Tursunov orchestrating proceedings from midfield. The Tajikistani forward was the livewire on the right flank and his combination with Ashutosh Mehta troubled Punjab's defence.
In the 20th minute, Beitia struck a curling free-kick which looked destined to hit the net but Nirmal Chhetri averted the danger at the expense of a corner.
Minerva got a chance when Beitia uncharacteristically lost possession and Sergio Barbosa darted past two Bagan defenders before Morante popped up in the right place to stop the cross.
Bagan continued to pile up the pressure and came agonisingly close to breaking the deadlock in the 39th minute but Suhair's header was cleared off the goal line by Danilo Augusto.
The Mariners finally broke the deadlock in the 42nd minute when Diawara netted his fifth of the season. Dhanachandra Singh catapulted the ball into the box from a long throw-in which was clumsily cleared by Anwar Ali and Diawara made the Warriors pay for the mistake.
Just after the hour mark Bagan once again breached Punjab's defence when Morante scored from a Beitia free-kick but a contentious late flag from the assistant referee cancelled the strike. Beitia had a bad day at the office as he could have scored one for himself but fluffed two chances from point-blank range.
Punjab started to show some urgency in the final quarter of the match but their efforts lacked enough venom to beat Roy under the sticks. They will return to action against East Bengal on February 13 whereas Mohun Bagan will take the pitch a day later against NEROCA.