Bengaluru FC took a step closer to the title blanking host Mohun Bagan 2-0 in a 24th round match of the I-League here at the Salt Lake Stadium on Sunday.
Thoi Singh and Sean Rooney found the target once in each half to give the debutante from Bengaluru the full quota of points and helped it strengthen the position on top of the league standings.
The home side kept the Bengaluru visitor under constant pressure in the initial half, creating some good opportunities but its Nigerian strikers — Okolie Odafa and Christopher Chizoba — failed to accomplish their job.
Odafa had the first opportunity, which came off a nice assist from Japanese midfielder Katsumi Yusa in the sixth minute, but the Nigerian striker took too much time with the ball. Katsumi, who enlivened the left flank with incisive runs, could not find his hard work rewarded as both Odafa and Chizoba failed to break past Curtis Osano and John Johnson in the Bengaluru FC deep defence.
The visitor picked up the lead just when the home side seemed to rest on the oars after a series of abortive raids. The goal came as a relief for the visitor as the action drifted into rough weather towards the last 10 minutes. The bad blood created on the pitch culminated in the ejection of the Bengaluru FC coach Ashley Westwood, who was sent off from the technical area for showing continuous dissent.
Just when things appeared to go out of the visitor’s way, it found the lead quite against the run of play. Australian striker Sean Rooney pounced on the chance when a Mohun Bagan defender faltered on a clearance. Rooney chipped the free ball into the Bagan box just have Thoi Singh nodding home the lead in the first minute of the added time (45+1).
Bengaluru FC ensured the win around the hour mark when Mohun Bagan’s substitute goalkeeper Sandip Nandy made a mess of things in haste. The seasoned custodian, who replaced young Shilton Paul under the bar in the second half, showed unnecessary hurry and kicked the ball straight to Rooney lurking on top of the box. The Australian made no mistake with his volley, which found the net.
Bengaluru FC tallied 41 points from 22 matches to gain a four-point lead over second placed Salgaocar FC. Mohun Bagan remained on 24 points after 22 outings.
The result: Mohun Bagan 0 lost to Bengaluru FC 2 (Thoi Singh 45+1, Sean Rooney 60).