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Bagan keep hopes alive
Calcutta: Mohun Bagan kept their slim chances of winning the I-League title alive by beating already-relegated Vasco Sports Club 3-0 at the Barasat Stadium on Thursday.

The green and maroon brigade took the lead through Ishfaq Ahmed in the 41st minute. Jose Ramirez Barreto made it 2-0 on the hour mark and defender N.S. Manju rounded it off in the 78th minute. Bagan now have 40 points from 20 matches and need to win their last two ties and hope for Mohammedan Sporting to do something out of this world — beat Churchill Brothers in Goa.

Bagan were expected to have an easy outing against Vasco. After all you can’t expect a team, who have conceded 42 goals in the I-League (before Thursday’s tie), to trouble a line-up which includes the likes of Bhaichung Bhutia and Barreto . But Bagan came up against a dogged Vasco goalkeeper who answers to the name of Milagrio Medeira. Whether saving a Manju attempt from close or fisting away Bhaichung’s bullet-like header, Medeira was like a rock under the bar.

In the 11th minute Ishfaq wasted what was arguably the easiest chance of the season. Barreto’s centre found Ishfaq in front of an empty goal. With no challenge from the rival defence and Medeira hopelessly out of position, Ishfaq headed wide.

Bagan’s first goal came off a delightful move. Bhaichung from the middle playing it for Barreto; James Singh sold a dummy which took the Vasco defence by surprise and the Brazilian hooked it onto the far end where an unmarked Ishfaq headed it in.

In the 60th minute Bhaichung’s through ball found Barreto inside the box. Barreto got past Medeira and hammered it in even as Elvino Fernandes tried in vain to stop him. By the time the last goal came, Vasco had given up the fight. The defence just watched as N.S. Manju followed Marcos’s floater from left and slotted home unchallenged.


Mohun Bagan: Sangram Mukherjee; Habibur Rehman, N.S. Manju, Peter Odafe, Deepak Mondal; L James Singh, Marcos Pereira, Rakesh Masih (Lalkamal Bhowmick 53), Ishfaq Ahmed (PC Lalawmpuiya, 82); Jose Ramirez Barreto (B. Cardozo, 64), Bhaichung Bhutia.

Vasco SC: Milagrio Medeira; Prajyot Naik, Elvino Fernandes, Covan Lawrence, Fulgango Cardozo; Ravshan Teshabaev, Minino Fernandes (Donaldo Rocha, 87), Yorkin Nazarov (Jose Colaco 38), Lester Fernandes, Lalnun Puia, Sherzod Nazarov (Agnelo Colaco, 67).

Referee: Rizwan-ul Haq.

MoM: Milagrio Medeira.

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