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Rediff.com  » Sports » Bhutia takes Bagan to top of the table

Bhutia takes Bagan to top of the table

February 06, 2009 22:48 IST

A second-half strike by skipper Bhaichung Bhutia helped Mohun Bagan beat Sporting Clube de Goa 1-0 for their ninth consecutive win in the Round XIV match of the ONGC I-League at the floodlit Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata on Friday.

With this win Bagan bagged three points to take their tally to 30 points, a lead of two points over the Goans at the top of the standings.

Having played goalless in the first-half, the goal came from a corner in the 76th minute as Mohun Bagan avenged their first round loss and made it an 11 unbeaten run in the I-League.

On a day when their Brazilian ace Jose Ramirez Barreto lacked his usual flair, Bhutia rose to the occasion yet again and delivered the goal when it was needed most.

The Brazilian tried to get hold of the corner with a back volley but he missed it, though deflecting it to the watchful Bhutia inside the six-yard box.

Bhutia launched a powerful left-footer in style to settle the issue 15 minutes before the final whistle as the boisterous home support burst into celebration.

However, the Karim Bencherifa boys did not have a memorable first-half as both teams engaged in unnecessary and unfruitful tackles.

The Goan outfit started on an attacking note and got a chance to score early in the fourth minute with a cross from right by N Samananda Singh.

Utilising the cross, Elijah Obagbemiro Junior attempted for a bicycle kick but failed to connect in the bargain. Two minutes later, Bibiano Fernandes had a shot at the goal but his shot was also off target, much to the agony of Vishwas Gaonkar.

The Kolkata giants took time to settle down and only stepped up the momentum later on.

They had their chance in the 13th minute when Barreto got an opportunity but his shot lacked power and went wayward.

Both teams had some rough tackles without yielding any result.

Just at the stroke of half-time, Mohun Bagan came close to scoring but luck wasn't on their side as James Singh's cross from the right flank had Bhutia heading the ball only to find it rebounding from the cross bar and being cleared by a defender.

After the changeover, Sporting Clube de Goa went for the kill but only to see it nullified with some fine goalkeeping by Sangram Mukherjee.

In the 60th minute, Junior launched a powerful shot at the Bagan net from 25 yards but his effort was foiled by Sangram under the bar. The custodian made a brilliant save, diving on to his left to punch it over the bar.

But then it was Mohun Bagan who took over the game and in the 74th minute Barreto crossed the ball inside the box to Bhutia but the skipper failed to head it to perfection to avoid Mohun Bagan take the lead.

Minutes later, the skipper made amends for his failure scoring the winner to take his team to the top of the table.

Showing his class, Bhutia turned around to net in the ball from Barreto who tried for a bicycle kick.

There was no looking back as Karim Bencherifa and his boys had the last laugh in the clash of titans.

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