Haitian winger Sony Norde struck on either side of the break as defending champions Mohun Bagan cruised to a 2-0 victory over 10-man DSK Shivajians in a fourth round encounter of I-League football tournament.
Norde struck in the 12th and 55th minute as the green and maroon brigade maintained their second position in the league table with 10 points from four games. Bengaluru FC are on top with 12 points from five matches.
The win will also boost the confidence of Sanjoy Sen’s boys as they stand on the cusp of history after becoming the first Indian football club to play a Stage II qualifying round match of the AFC Champions League against Chinese Club Shandong Luneng FC in Chinese city of Jinan on February 2.
The team will be leaving for China tomorrow by an early morning flight from Pune.
The Mariners drew first blood in the 12th minute when Katsumi Yusa’s low corner was flicked by Raju Gaekwad towards Norde, who showed his poaching skills by slotting past veteran goalkeeper Subrata Paul to give his team the lead.
Paul, once India’s number one goalkeeper, is the first Indian custodian, who has started wearing the headgear made popular by Czech legend and current Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech.
Jeje Lalpeklhua came close to doubling his side’s advantage in the 43rd minute of the contest, but his header was off target.
At half-time, the scoreline read 1-0 in favour of the away side.
The decisive strike came in the 55th minute when Norde breached the Shivajians’ defence to take a crack from the edge of the box that beat Paul to make it 2-0.
If that wasn’t bad enough, the home side were then down to 10 men as Lalhmangaihsaga Ralte got marching orders after receiving his second yellow card.