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Pune: Sony Norde struck twice as defending champions Mohun Bagan blanked a 10-man DSK Shivajians 2-0 to continue their unbeaten run in an I-League encounter at the BalewadI Sports Complex here on Saturday.
Norde (12th, 55th minutes) scored once in each half as Mohun Bagan climbed to the second spot on the I-League table with 10 points. They have won three of the four matches they have played so far, while holding arch-rivals East Bengal to a 1-1 draw in the other.
The hosts started strongly, enjoying better possession in the early stages. DSK's Douhou Pierre drove in a telling ball in the fourth minute, but none of their players were there to head the ball home as it rolled out of play.
But Mohun Bagan soon wrested the upper hand when Brandon Fernandes forced a good save from DSK goalkeeper Subrata Paul. The visitors drew first blood from the resulting corner as Norde found himself a bit of room inside the six-yard box and slotted the ball in with ease to give his side a crucial away lead.
The game saw heated tempers later in the first period when Mohun Bagan's Pronay Halder got into bust-ups with a coupld of Shivajian defenders. With the likes of Jeje and Norde in their squad, Mohun Bagan were happy to play on the break, keeping the DSK defenders on their feet for the majority of the half.
Jeje came close to doubling his side's advantage in the 43rd minute of the contest, but his header was off target.
Disappointed with his side's first-half performances, Shivajians coach Derrick Pereira made a substitution at the break, bringing on the pacy Israil Gurung in place of captain Aser Dica.
Much like the first half, the home side started the second period strongly, enjoying better possession but failing in their attempts to provide anything fruitful. Their strikers Douhou and Mohammed Rafi combined well on a number of occasions, but the Mohun Bagan defence had no trouble in keeping them out.
Norde doubled the visitors' tally when he tormented the DSK defence before scoring with a low shot from the edge of the box.
If being two goals down wasn't bad enough, the home side were soon down to 10 men. Lalhmangaihsaga Ralte, who had received a yellow card earlier, made a needless foul to see himself receive his second booking of the match.
Playing with 10 men, the odds were severely stacked against the hosts. They soon down to nine on the pitch when Shivajians defender Justin Stephen found himself on the wrong end of a sliding tackle and had to be stretchered off the field. As DSK had already used up all their substitutes, they were forced to end their first ever home I-League tie with nine men on the field. (IANS)