Federation Cup: Jeje’s brace helps Mohun Bagan thrash Shillong Lajong

Federation Cup: Jeje’s brace helps Mohun Bagan thrash Shillong Lajong

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A brace from striker Jeje Lalpekhlua helped Mohun Bagan defeat Shillong Lajong 5-0 in the first leg of the Federation Cup semi-final at the Barasat stadium on Sunday. Bikramjit Singh, Cornell Glen and Azharuddin Mallick scored the other 3 goals to give Lajong a mountain to climb in the second leg.

Starting Line-ups:

Mohun Bagan (4-3-3): Debjit Majumder(GK), Pritam Kotal, Kinshuk Debnath, Luciano Sobrosa, Dhanachandra Singh, Katsumi Yusa(C), Pronay Halder, Bikramjit Singh, Jeje Lalpekhlua, Cornell Glen, Sony Norde

Shillong Lajong (4-3-3): Vishal Kaith(GK), Samuel Shadap, Konsham Chinglensana Singh, Nimdorjee Tamang, Pritam Kumar, Isaac Vanmalsawma, Penn Orji(C), Boithang Haokip, Rupert Nongrum, Fabio Pena, Uilliams Souza

Disappointing everyone who had hoped for a Kolkata derby in the semi-final, Shillong Lajong entered the last four after dumping out East Bengal in extra time last week. Uilliams, who scored the all-important goal in the extra time, made his way into the starting XI against the 2014/15 I-League champions Mohun Bagan, in place of Samuel Lalmuanpuia, while Rupert Nongrum came in for Bipin Singh.

The Mariners have been in fine form in the Federation cup, and they thrashed Salgaocar 4-0 in the second leg to register a 7-2 aggregate win. With the Federation Cup winners guaranteed a place in the AFC Cup, coach Sanjoy Sen put out a strong XI for the home leg of the semi-final. Cornell Glen, who missed the last game, came in place of Azharuddin Mallick to complete the attacking triumvirate. Pronay Halder also started the match alongside Bikramjit Singh in the midfield and he replaced Lenny Rodrigues.

With Glen, Jeje and Norde back together in attack, the home side started on the front foot by throwing a barrage of attacks on the shilling defence. The first six minutes saw Bagan earning three corners and they were unlucky to find the score at 0-0 after all their three attempts from the corners were stopped from crossing the line.

The pressure was increasing on the Shillong defence, and if man-to-man marking was not enough, the away side moved to double mark Norde to stop the attacks from the left. Penn Orji and Boithang Hoakip did their best to silence Norde, but the floodgates, finally, opened five minutes before the end of the half through Jeje. Outfoxing his markers, Norde cut through the Shillong defence and took a shot from 20-yards at the goal. Vishal Kaith did well to parry the effort, but the ball went straight to Jeje, who deposited the ball into the back of the net with no defenders near him. 1-0 became 2-0 in a matter of minutes as Bikramjit Singh smashed one past Vishal Kaith after a one-two from Jeje and Glen opened up the Shillong defence.

The home side were cruising, and they increased the misery on Shillong in the 51st minute. The trio of Norde, Glen and Jeje were once again the men behind the goal as the Haitian’s cross gave Glen the chance to head the ball past the line. It was all Bagan in the match, and Jeje scored his second four minutes later after Glen shimmies past Shillong defenders to pump the ball into the Indian International striker. Jeje made no mistake from close range and tapped the ball into the back of the net to complete his hat-trick and to effectively end Shillong’s hopes of a final appearance with the second leg still remaining.

With Bagan leading 4-0, the pace of the game slowed down after the 60th minute and the home side focussed more on their defensive positions to stop Shillong from scoring an away goal. As the game progressed, the away side received some much-needed space in the middle, which they used to mount a few attacks on the Bagan goal. But their attempts proved to be more in hope as the Mariners saw out the rest of the minutes and added one more in the 87th minute through Azharuddin Mallick to put one foot in the final of the Federation Cup.   

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