Sunday, May 19, 2024

Mohun Bagan down Odisha to advance into ISL final


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Kolkata, April 28: Mohun Bagan kept themselves in the hunt for an unprecedented double in the ISL by storming into the final with a 3-2 aggregate win over Odisha FC here on Sunday.
Having lost the first leg of the semifinal 1-2 at Bhubaneswar, Mohun Bagan began on a dominant note and struck through Jason Cummings in the 22nd minute to bring it level for the Mariners on aggregate.
After a flurry of attacks went abegging thanks to a resolute display by Amrinder Singh under the bar, Mohun Bagan finally struck the winning goal by comeback man Sahal Abdul Samad who came off the bench to strike from Manvir Singh’s assist in the 90+3rd minute.
The goal came just when the match was meandering towards extra-time as the 62,000-plus capacity crowd at the Salt Lake Stadium erupted in joy with chants of ‘Joy Mohun Bagan’ reverberating in the stands.
The victory came two weeks after Mohun Bagan won their maiden League Winners Shield at the same venue by defeating Mumbai City FC 2-1 to top the top-tier competition.
No team in the history of ISL has completed a double and Mohun Bagan will look to achieve the rare feat by taking on the winners of Mumbai City and FC Goa in the summit clash slated here on Saturday.
Mumbai City are ahead 3-2 before their return leg semifinal on Monday.
On a sultry evening, Mohun Bagan’s former marksman Roy Krishna came close to scoring on more than one occasion in the first-half but the home team defence held on.
They finally showed superb poaching skill to go 1-0 up in the contest and make it two-all on aggregate just before the half-hour mark.
Liston Colaco skillfully set up Dimitri Petratos with a pass from the edge of the box.
It led to a powerful shot that Amrinder sloppily deflected into the danger area, where Cummings showed excellent instincts to score with a simple tap-in.
Making a comeback from injury, Sahal who was included in the 71st minute replacing Anirudh Thapa finally produced the magic moment after several of their attempts went abegging.
It was Manvir Singh, who ran down the right flank to brilliantly set up the goal in the middle of the box, as Amrinder came off his line.
Lurking inside, Sahal showed brilliant presence of mind by refraining from using his hand as the ball ricocheted off his body and crossed the goal line. (PTI)


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