A second half attacking blitz buoyed by a Jeje Lalpekhlua brace enabled Mohun Bagan to extend their Federation Cup hegemony humiliating Aizawl FC 5-0 in the final . It was Mohun Bagan’s record-stretching 14 Fed Cup triumph, in their 19th final, leading from their nearest rivals East Bengal (8) by a fair distance. It was however their first win since 2008.
After a goalless first half, Mohun Bagan stepped on the pedal and scored through Sony Norde (48th minute), Dhanachandar Singh (58 and 88), Jeje Lalpekhlua (73) and Bikramjit Singh (82) to complete the rout.
It was the highest margin recorded in the final of the tournament. India international Jeje became the highest scorer of the tournament with 8 strikes in 5 games.
The match began at a fierce pace at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium. Both teams were keen to get an early goal and set the tone for the rest of the match.
A light drizzle made the turf slippery and the ball movement swift.
Mohun Bagan’s formidable attacking trio of Sony Norde, Cornell Glen and Jeje Lalpekhlua were mobile upfront, interchanging positions and linking up with the hope of finding gaps.
Aizawl took a different approach, driving forward through the middle channel.
Yuta Kinowaki, Alfred Jarayan and Joel Sunday bossed the midfield zone, moving unchallenged to the Mohun Bagan deep defence. They took several feeble shots at the goal forcing goalkeeper Debjit Majumdar to dive around.
Glen got a good opportunity in the 34th minute when he found himself unmarked inside the box following a Katusmi Yusa corner but could only muster a weak shot.
The script remained similar till half-time when it remained goalless.
But a change of ends altered the flow of the proceedings Norde put Mohun Bagan ahead with a calm and controlled finish in the 48th.
Bikramjit Singh’s chip inside the box, after a largely silent first half, was intelligently chested down by Jeje for an onrushing Norde to place it in.
The Haitian was composed while placing the ball.
The goal disoriented the young and youthful Aizawl players. Sensing a crack in their confidence, Mohun Bagan intensified their pressure.
And were rewarded for their experience and accurate reading of the game just on the stroke of the hour mark.
Unmarked defender Dhanachandra Singh leapt the highest and successfully headed in a swerving Katsumi corner to double the advantage.
It broke Aizawl’s backbone allowing Mohun Bagan to ram their advantage home.
As the match grew older the proceedings began to concentrate on Aizawl’s penalty box.
Glen’s trickery paved the way for th third goal. His backheel allowed Jeje to expertly curl the ball into the bottom corner of the right post.
Norde was stifled partially in the first half on the left wing. But he got more space after the breather and ominously ran past the defenders to create a simple tap-in for an onrushing Bikramjit.
The finishing touch was given fittingly by Jeje. Substitute Azharuddin Mullick enjoyed space on the left to essay an inviting grounded cross for Jeje to complete the formalities.