Mohun Bagan's poor run of form continued as they were held to a 3-3 draw today at the Barasat Stadium by DSK Shivajians. Aser Dipanda's equalizer in the second half earned the Pune-based club a much-deserved point, after Cornell Glen had provided the hosts the lead with a brace in the first half.
Mohun Bagan's three-match win-less run had put them in a tight spot in the I-League title race. Sanjoy Sen returned to the dugout after serving his four-match ban, while Haitian striker Sony Norde returned to the starting XI after missing the last two games.
The last time these two teams met, DSK Shivajians ended up on the wrong side of a 0-2 result at Pune. But, DSK went through a transformation mid-season and reached Kolkata on the back of a six-match unbeaten run, which included a victory over East Bengal and a 1-1 draw against Bengaluru in their last match. Coach Derrick Pereira opted to start with the same team that took to the field against Bengaluru, hoping for another upset.
Needing a win to stay alive in the title race, Sanjoy Sen’s side made all the running in the initial minutes with Cornell Glen and Sony Norde causing all sorts of problems for the DSK defence. The Haitian striker had a golden chance in the 14th minute after he broke through the Pune side’s defence to make a clear run at the goal, but Surchandra Singh threw his body forward to block the shot.
The Kolkata side finally went ahead in the 26th minute after Subrata Paul made a mess of substitute Jeje’s shot from the top of the box to push the ball into the path of Cornell Glen. The Trinidad and Tobago player made no mistake from close range and put it past the goalie to open the scoring for Bagan. The defending champions had a chance to double the lead a few minutes later with Subrata Paul once again coming under the scanner, after stepping back over the line to collect the shot from Norde.
But, it all changed in a matter of four minutes for the Pune side with Spaniard Juan Quero scoring a brace to silence the crowd at the Barasat stadium. The first for the former Real Madrid academy graduate came in the 30th minute after Douhou Pierre found Quero in the box with a brilliant pass, and the Spaniard did the rest by placing the ball to the right of Debjit. DSK took the lead after just four minutes with Quero once again finding space in the box, this time on the right side. Douhou Pierre once again found the Spaniard, and he beat the Bagan goalie with a diagonal shot.
With the away side looking in the ascendancy, it looked as if DSK will end the half in the lead. But it once again changed in a matter of minutes with Sony Norde and Cornell Glenn scoring the goals to put the home side in the lead. The Haitian striker found an opening at the top of the box and delivered a powerful shot to the bottom left corner to bring things back to level in the 41st minute.
Four minutes later, Cornell Glen scored his second and the team’s third with a beautiful individual effort from outside the box to beat Subrata Paul at his near post.
Mohun Bagan went into the break with a slim 3-2 lead in what was an exciting half of football. The home side continued their dominance in the second half as DSK Shivajians struggled to create any chances.
The Mariners replaced Norde with Kean Lewis at the hour mark as Sanjoy Sen looked to shore up the midfield and protect their lead. Five minutes later, Glen missed a glorious chance to extend Bagan's lead, and that miss proved to be costly. In the 75th minute, DSK equalized against the run of play once again.
Juan Quero released Israil Gurung down the right wing, and the winger produced a stunning delivery into the box. Aser Dipanda, who was left unmarked by the Bagan defence, found the back of the net with a powerful diving header past Debjit to make it 3-3.
The defending champions pushed men in numbers into the DSK box in their search for the winner, but DSK held their fort at the back and came away from the Barasat Stadium with a much-deserved point.
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