Mohun Bagan Super Giant delighted the home crowd at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata with an enthralling 3-1 victory over Indian Super League (ISL) debutants Punjab FC to round off an entertaining double header on Saturday.
The Mariners’ Australian attacking duo of Jason Cummings and Dimitri Petratos scored a goal apiece in the first half before Punjab’s Slovenian forward Luka Majcen pulled one back in the 53rd minute. However, just as it appeared that Staikos Vergetis’ men would storm back into the proceedings, Manvir Singh tapped one in from a few yards out thanks to some brilliant link up by their frontline to squander any hopes of a comeback for the away team.
Juan Ferrando’s men, fresh from their title-winning Durand Cup run, looked like a well-coordinated unit right from kick-off. Asish Rai raced ahead on the right flank and cut back in a pass to Sahal Abdul Samad inside the box. The attacking midfielder couldn’t get enough power behind the shot but Cummings was at the right spot at the right time to net his debut goal in the ISL.
Cummings donned an all-round role in the forward line. He dropped back and played a terrific and incisive pass through the Punjab backline to land at Liston Colaco’s feet in the 35th minute. The winger couldn’t finish the move but Petratos lapped up the rebound to bag the team’s second goal of the night.
Punjab didn’t give up and came out with renewed spirit and enthusiasm in the second essay of the game. They pressed high up on the field and bore the fruits of the same by forcing the Mohun Bagan midfield into committing a defensive error. Glan Martins was compelled into making a back pass but he mistakenly ended up playing a through ball to Majcen. The 34-year-old, who was the highest goal-scorer in the I-League last year with 16 strikes, calmly slotted the ball behind Vishal Kaith to reduce Punjab’s deficit.
However, Ferrando’s side got their act together as Petratos shifted wide on the left flank to collect a through ball and square up a pass for Manvir. He capitalised upon the chance by getting at the end of the delivery to notch his team’s third goal and thereby secure their three points from the game.
Key performer of the Match
The Australian striker delivered a comprehensive performance leading the frontline as he secured a goal and an assist each to seamlessly settle into the rigours of the ISL. He showed no rustiness and donned both the role of a goal-scorer as well as that of a playmaker in an outing that excited the supporters to no end.
What’s next for both teams?
The Mohun Bagan Super Giant will next host Bengaluru FC on September 27 whereas Punjab FC will travel to Goa to take on the Gaurs at the Fatorda Stadium on October 2.
Mohun Bagan Super Giant (Jason Cummings 10’, Dimitri Petratos 35’, Manvir Singh 64’) – 1 Punjab FC (Luka Majcen 53’)