Francisco Gonzalez scored a timely hat-trick to help 10-man Mohun Bagan dominate Neroca FC by a tennis scoreline (6-2) in an I-League fixture at the Kalyani Municipal Stadium here on Friday. The win helped the former champion pick up its fifth successive win and realise a 11-point lead in (29 points from 12 matches) the current league table.
Adding to Gonzalez’s hat-trick was a contribution each from Francisco Morante, Babacar Diawara and substitute Romario Jesuraj. Neroca FC reduced the margin through goals from Philip Adjah and Subash Singh. Bagan was reduced to 10 men in the 60th minute when Dhanachandra Singh was given marching orders for handling a Ronald Singh effort at the Bagan goalmouth.
Continuing from where it left off in the previous win (1-0) against Punjab FC, Bagan unleashed its attacking efficiency right from the start. Bagan found success in the 11th minute off a set-piece when Gonzalez nodded home Joseba Beitia’s corner. This opened the floodgates for a spate of goals in the next 34 minutes.
Morante was quick to make it 2-0 in the 13th minute when he diverted home a half-volley from Tursunov. As Bagan continued to press for more, the Neroca goal fell once again in the 24th minute; Gonzalez again nodding home off a short chip from Beitia (3-0). After Gonzalez had missed a 26th minute penalty, Diawara made it 4-0 in the 36th. Adjah got a goal against the run of play in the 41st minute to save Neroca from a washout (4-1).
Gonzalez completed his hat-trick in the 45th minute thanks to another nice assist from Beitia (5-1). Subhash added one more to the Neroca tally as the first half ended with seven goals. Bagan reduced its aggression after the break. Despite having a numerical disadvantage Bagan managed the sixth goal through Romario, who scored from another Beitia corner right after taking the field in the 69th minute.
The result: Mohun Bagan 6 (Francisco Gonzalez 11, 24, 45, Francisco Morante 13, Babacar Diawara 36, Romario Jesuraj 69) bt Neroca FC 2 (Philip Adjah 41, Subash Singh 45+2).