Mohun Bagan sought to dispel the gloom of a poor start to the season by posting its third win in four matches when it blanked a strong Salgaocar SC 3-0 in a sixth round match of the I-League here at the Salt Lake Stadium on Saturday.
Denson Devadas drew first blood for Mohun Bagan before its captain Okolie Odafa doubled the lead to have the home side leading 2-0 at halftime. Nigerian midfielder Stanley Okoroigwe took the match beyond Salgaocar’s grasp scoring the third midway through the second half.
While the win lifted Mohun Bagan from the depths of the League table, it also signalled a successful association of its stand-in coach Mridul Banerjee.
The former international gave a sound note about his coaching credentials keeping Mohun Bagan unbeaten in the past four rounds, ever since the unceremonious departure of Santosh Kashyap a little over a month ago.
“I am happy that I could prove myself to the players and the supporters as the team recovered under my charge,” said Banerjee after the win. Banerjee will be relinquishing his position to Moroccan Karim Berncherifa, who is scheduled to reclaim the post of Mohun Bagan coach after 33 months, on Sunday.
Though Salgaocar applied the moratorium in the contract restricting Bencherifa, who is making a move from the same Goa club to his former Kolkata employer, from appearing in the match Mohun Bagan showed the right approach on field.
Denson put Mohun Bagan ahead in the fifth minute getting the final touch with a header following a succession of passing at the Salgaocar goalmouth. Odafa, Bagan’s leading scorer, added another to his tally when he found the Salgaocar net off a fine solo effort in the 20th minute.
Mohun Bagan earned more chances to convert after the break but could avail only one when Stanley tapped home a finely set cross from wing-half Rahim Nabi in the 61st minute.
Salgaocar’s only chance came in the ninth but the goal remained elusive as Australian forward Sean Rooney’s curling shot came off the Mohun Bagan upright.
After six rounds Mohun Bagan has 10 points while Salgaocar remains on five.
The result: Mohun Bagan 3 (Denson Devadas 5th, Okolie Odafa 20th, Stanley Okoroigwe 61st) bt Salgaocar 0.