Sporting went down narrowly to the league leaders Mohun Bagan 1 – 0 in a closely fought encounter at Barasat Stadium, Kolkata. Katsumi Yusa was the sole scorer of the match who struck from a close range in the 73rd minute.  With this win Bagan move 3 points clear at the top while Sporting stay put at 4th.

The Mariners tried to attack early in the match as Katsumi, Glenn and Jeje all wanting to get in the action, but Sporting had other intentions. Mateus and company had done their homework well and played a high defense line successfully managing to pull the off side trap on numerous occasions. The first opportunity however came Bagans way in the 11th minute when Dhanachandra found his cross hitting the wood work and falling right into the feet of Norde who’s attempt was blocked at the goal line courtesy Loveday. Sporting responded within less than 5 minutes when Nicholas & Ganesh combined well as the latter saw his attempt being bravely saved by Debjit.

In quick succession Sporting launched a wave of attacks through Odafa and Ganesh but neither of them could make any difference. At the other end Bagan saw two penalty appeals being turned down while the second one almost paid off at the other end when Ganesh made a dazzling run to release a shot only to see it brush the side netting, that was really close. At the half time both teams disappeared back into the tunnels unable to break the dead lock.

The second half saw a more charged up Bagan side who took the attack right into the Sporting box. The Flaming Oranje survived some good attack from the Bagan side and slowly started to build their own. In the 66th minute Glan Martins had the opportunity to put Sporting ahead as he saw himself in a fantastic space but failed to release the ball soon and lacked the power required. In the 73rd minute Bagan drew the first and the last blood of the match as a promising move from Norde after failing to find space send the ball straight into a flooded Sporting box, after a few kicks and misses by either side Katsumi who was apparently unmarked managed just enough foot on the ball to poke it past Arindam who otherwise had a heroic evening. Sporting soon took the attack at the other end and almost found an equalizer through their Striker Odafa who muscled his way past the Bagan defenders to come head on against a charging Debjit. Needing only to beat the keeper the Nigerian tried to place the ball which was well read the Debjit who definitely saved the evening for a sea of supporters gathered at Barasat.

Towards the dying moments Seriton Fernandes had a couple of chances but couldn’t find the right direction to his shots failing to give the equalizer the Flaming Oranje side needed desperately. The over all match speaks differently from the final score line as it turned out to be a treat for the spectators who witnessed some breathtaking attack from either side. Next up Sporting will make their trip up on the west cost where they will take on Khalid and company while the Mariners will come down to Goa where they take on the Kashyap boys.


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