Kolkata: Mohun Bagan put in a fantastic display at the Salt Lake Stadium as they registered a 3-1 victory over Singapore’s Tampines Rovers with goals from Jeje Lalpekhlua (5′), Cornell Glen (41′) and Katusmi Yusa (83′) while Hanapi pulled one back for the visitors (43′).
Sanjoy Sen made just one change to the side which drew 1-1 against East Bengal last weekend with Jeje Lalpekhlua being roped in to replace Azaharuddin Mullick.
Fazrul Haque started upfront for the visitors with Kwon Jun and Noh Rahman starting in the centre of defence.
It was a blistering start from the home side as they took the lead within five minutes. Sony Norde was the architect of the move as he dribbled past Izdin and Kwon on the left before passing it for Dhanachandra Singh. The full-back’s delightful looping ball into the box was flicked by Jeje to make it 1-0 for the home team.
Bagan continued to dominate with Norde and Katsumi Yusa’s creavity exposing the opposition defence on several occasions. Just before the half hour mark, Cornell Glen was guilty of missing an opportunity from point blank range when Yusa laid it on a platter for him.
The Kolkata outfit were awarded a penalty when Glen was brought down inside the box by Kwon but the former Lajong striker’s feeble attempt was kept out by goalkeeper Mahbud in the 35th minute.
Glen made amends eventually in the 40th minute to give Bagan a 2-0 lead. Norde got past a couple of defenders and his pinpoint ball for an unmarked Glen saw the latter take a poor touch but eventually doing enough to bundle the ball home.
However, the Stags clawed their way back in just two minutes from time. Kinshuk Debnath fouled Hafiz outside the box and from the ensuing free-kick, an unmarked Yasir Hanapi headed in from a Hafiz delivery.
After the restart the Mighty Stags almost got one back fortuitously after a free-kick from Chris found the back of Faizul and the ball ended up in the back of the net, but the referee waved it as offside. After a hand ball just outside the box, Yusa stepped up to take the free-kick but Glen’s header was blocked by Izwan. Norde picked up the pieces but his attempt too was stopped by Kwon.
In the 84th minute, Norde’s corner was headed towards Yusa by substitute Prabir Das. The Japanese made no mistake and scored Bagan’s third of the night. Just two minutes later, Katsumi played a perfect through ball for Jeje but the striker was too slow to react.
Jeje instantly followed up with a shot which was saved by Izwan in goal after Yusa carved open the defence once more. The score-line remained the same until the final whistle as Bagan have now booked a berth in the second round of the competition where they shall come up against Chinese outfit Shangdong Luneng.