Mohun Bagan romp to ISL final

Kolkata, April 29 (UNI) Mohun Bagan Super Giant emerged triumphant against the Odisha FC by 2-0 at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan here on Sunday night to win the second leg of their semi-final fixture and become the first finalist of the Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24 season.

The Mariners produced a professional and clinical performance to defeat the Juggernauts by 3-2 on aggregate and storm into the summit clash of the competition for the second season in a row.

Mohun Bagan Super Giant will now play the ISL final on May 4 at their home ground, i.e. the Salt Lake Stadium as they were the highest-ranked team from the league stages.

The Antonio Lopez Habas-coached side came into this match after a 2-1 loss to Odisha FC in the opening leg of their last-four match in Bhubaneswar.

However, they set any concerns arising from that result aside in a contest that they dominated right from the beginning to the end, offering little to Odisha FC at the bastion of the Mariners in the City of Joy.

Jason Cummings opened the scoring in the 22nd minute, whereas Sahal Abdul Samad sealed the game lock, stock, and barrel in the added time of the second half to cap off a compelling victory by Habas’ men.

The fact that the Mariners have a star-studded squad at their disposal needs no second telling. However, their Spaniard tactician has laudably managed to galvanise their potential and get them functioning as a cohesive collective unit in the last few months, the results of which are visible here.

After becoming the Champions of the ISL 2023-24, Mohun Bagan Super Giant are now marching towards the ISL Cup with equal vigour with all their big stars being at the top of their game lately.

The groundwork of Cummings’ goal was laid out by his striking counterpart Dimitrios Petratos, who has not been immune to producing magical moments aplenty in this campaign. His long-ranged effort was spilled by Odisha FC custodian and ex-Mariner Amrinder Singh.

Like a fox in the box, Cummings jumped upon the ball and netted it home to get the opener under his belt. Three minutes later, Roy Krishna tried to initiate a solo effort inside the Mohun Bagan Super Giant box, showing quick footwork amidst closed spaces inside the 12-yard area.

However, a disciplined defence ensured that those efforts were kept at bay.

Thereafter, the home side had several chances coming up, but there was a lack of decisiveness upfront to bury them and grab the victory with both hands. That moment arrived deep into the game courtesy of attacking midfielder Sahal Abdul Samad, who has endured an injury-ridden season campaign thus far.

Manvir Singh cut into the inside of the left flank and shot in a powerful low cross for Sahal, which the former Kerala Blasters FC player tried to tap in on first go. Amrinder managed to stop that effort but the deflection landed on Sahal’s head, who then somehow scrapped it into the back of the net and steered the team to the grand finale.

Mohun Bagan Super Giant will now play in the ISL 2023-24 final at their home on May 4, whereas Odisha FC’s campaign comes to an end with this defeat.

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