Federation Cup: Mohun Bagan beat Lajong to maintain Group B lead

Mohun Bagan and Colombo FC Players in action during an AFC Cup matchCuttack: Mohun Bagan's perfect start to the 2017 Federation Cup football tournament continued as they overcame Shillong Lajong 3-2 in an entertaining match at the Barabati Stadium here on Wednesday.

Mohun Bagan put the game in a difficult position for Lajong with three first-half goals despite going behind early. But Lajong hit back with a goal in the second half although it wasn't enough in the end.

Lajong took the lead in the third minute when Mohun Bagan defender Pritam Kotal put the ball in his own net while trying to clear a cross into the penalty box.

However, striker Darryl Duffy (5th minute) restored parity soon after before Haiti international Sony Norde (27th) and Japanese Yusa Katsumi (43rd) made the issue safe for Mohun Bagan. Yuta Kinowaki (80th) reduced the deficit for Lajong late in the game.

With this win, Mohun Bagan stay atop Group B following Bengaluru FC's loss against DSK Shivajians earlier in the day.

The Kolkata giants are now on six points having won both the matches they have played so far.

The match started off at a frantic pace after Bagan conceded an early goal after just three minutes when Lajong's Rupert Nongrum lobbed a cross into the penalty box and Kotal's horrific clearance put the ball into his own net.

Bagan weren't in the mood for letting the match get out of hand too soon and responded two minutes later with a Darryl Duffy goal.

Duffy made the most of his run down the left flank to calmly slot the ball into the net after a poor piece of goalkeeping from Vishal Kaith, that saw the LAjong custodian come out from the box and failing to make an interception.

Lajong fired back but Bagan's custodian Debjit Majumdar was equal to the task. Majumdar did well to jump to his left at full stretch and produce a deflection to prevent a well taken free-kick two minutes later as the ball hit the woodwork.

Bagan kept up the pressure and Lajong defender Aiborland Khongjee was forced to make a goal-line clearance moments later after a brilliant ball from Katsumi Yusa had found Duffy, who failed to get enough contact.

Bagan did not have to wait too long for their second goal as Sony Norde scored with a spectacular free-kick that beat Kaith to the top-right corner.

Kaith was called into make four successive saves in the 39th minute but moments later Bagan found the net once again.

Katsumi bagged the third goal for his side after receiving a diagonal pass from Norde.

In the second half, Bagan kept attacking from the start but lacked finesse in the final third.

Lajong went close in the 72nd minute as Chinglensena slammed a shot on goal but the Bagan defenders stuck out their bodies to make a goal-line clearance.

Lajong rallied to put in a host of attacks in the closing moments of the game and their efforts paid off. Yuta Kinowaki blasted a well taken shot past Debjit to reduce the deficit to 2-3.