Mohun Bagan regained its place on top of the current I-League standings after outplaying Dempo SC 2-0 in a 12th round match here on Sunday.
Bagan scored once each in the either half through Dhanachandra Singh and Balwant Singh to realise its fifth win in eight outings while remaining the only unbeaten side in the tournament so far.
Having drawn 1-1 against Dempo while away in the previous round, Bagan looked for full points at home right from the start.
With Haitian striker Sony Norde suspended, coach Sanjoy Sen employed Balwant Singh alongside Cameroon marquee player Pierre Boya in attack.
The combination worked well and created the first good opportunity in the 27th minute that Boya shot over.
The goal came in the next minute when a swerving corner from Japanese midfielder Katsumi Yusa created a melee in the Dempo goalmouth. Dhanachandra, lurking at the edge of the box, found the net with a snap left-footer.
Bagan’s game drifted a bit after the change of ends as Dempo, under new English coach Trevor Morgan, tried to get back into the match. Dempo got its first good chance around the 50th when midfielder Jewel Raja cut deep into the Bagan territory and released Francis Fernandes with a neat cross inside the Bagan box.
As the India international aimed for the net the Bagan goal-keeper Debjit Majumdar charged out in time to thwart the effort. Boya missed a clear scoring opportunity in the 61st when he failed to beat the Dempo custodian Laxmikant Kattimani despite being set up unmarked inside the box by a nice Balwant pass. Bagan found the insurance goal in the 85th when Balwant jumped clear of the reach of Kattimani to nod home a free kick from Yusa.
In a nasty incident of frayed tempers just after the goal, Dempo’s Costa Rican midfielder Carlos Hernandez and Bagan’s Sehnaj Singh got involved in a fracas over a tackle forcing the referee to eject both the players in the 87th minute.
Bagan now has 18 points from eight matches and overtook Bengaluru FC, which has 17 from 10 matches. Dempo remained ninth with eight from nine outings.
The result: Mohun Bagan 2 (Dhanachandra Singh 28, Balwant Singh 85) bt Dempo 0.
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