Mohun Bagan made a flying start to the season blanking local rival George Telegraph SC 4-0 in its first outing in the IFA Shield here on Friday.
Bagan’s new Nigerian recruit Chidi Edeh came good with two goals, while midfielders James Singh and substitute Subho Kumar scored one each in the group C league match.
I-League champion Churchill Brothers became the first team to ensure a semifinal berth after it downed I-League promotee Lajong FC of Shilong 2-0 in the concluding group B league match at Barasat.
Khanthang Paite scored in the 10th minute and Nigerian striker Okolie Odafe converted an 87th-minute penalty.
Better goal average
The win gave Churchill four points and tied it on points with local outfit Mohammedan Sporting, against which it had drawn 1-1 in the first match.
The Goa side went through on better goal average, which worked out on the winning margins the two sides had against Lajong FC. Sporting had beaten Lajong by a lone goal but the extra goal that Churchill scored today ensured its passage to the semifinals.
In the other match, the big win gave Mohun Bagan a head start against its next opponent Mahindra United, which had beaten George Telegraph 2-0 in the opening group league match.
A draw would be sufficient for Mohun Bagan to reach the semifinals on better goal average. But the Mumbai giant would need a clear win to sustain its chances of reaching the knockout stage. George Telegraph completed its outing in the tournament with two losses.
Edeh proves his worth
Chidi Edeh proved himself a precious buy and gave Mohun Bagan enough to look forward to in the season ahead with his performance. Showing good speed and ball control the Nigerian striker, who is back in the city after a stint with Mahindra United, made quick inroads into the opposition defence.
Mohun Bagan opened up the lead in the third minute when Edeh found the mark after the opposition goalkeeper Shibram Dey created the chance spilling an easy collection while trying to cut-off a cross from James Singh.
Edeh had another chance to increase his tally but wasted the opportunity shooting wide a 20th minute penalty.
After James Singh made it 2-0 for Bagan in the 37th minute, Edeh redeemed himself scoring off a fine solo effort in the 39th minute.
Bagan was a bit subdued in the second session as George Telegraph regrouped. Bagan was lucky not to have conceded any goal as its framework came in the way of two attempts.
The first was when midfielder Pintu Prasad saw his header coming off the crosspiece, three minutes later Nigerian striker Henry had a similar experience.
Instead Subha Kumar, who came in for Brazilian Marcose Pereira, found the mark for Mohun Bagan with a brilliant 25-yard pile driver in the 88th minute.