Former champions Mohun Bagan suffered a disaster at their home ground with a 1-2 loss to 10-man Chennai City FC in an I-League football fixture in Kolkata on Tuesday.
The southern outfit took a sixth minute lead through Frenchman Jean-Michel Joachim but only to be reduced to 10 players after Pradeep Mohanraj was sent off in the 34th minute for handling the ball inside the box.
Ansumana Kromah brought up the equaliser from the resultant penalty in the 36th minute but it was Veniamin Shumeyko who headed home the winner in the 71st minute to hand Mohun Bagan their first loss of the season after six matches.
The Kyrgyzstani brilliantly rose above three defenders to head home captain Michael Soosairaj’s corner kick to silence the Maidan crowd.
The loss also exposed the Sanjoy Sen-coached side’s over reliance on their star Haitian forward Sony Norde who is out with a knee injury.
The familiar chants of ‘go back Sanjoy Sen’ echoed the Maidan with thousands booing the coach as it seems the days are numbered for the I-League winning Mohun Bagan coach.
It was Mohun Bagan’s second successive home game as the I-League came to Kolkata Maidan for the first time.
In the last match too, Mohun Bagan’s opponents Indian Arrows were down to 10 men but they failed to make their numerical advantage count in a one-all stalemate and there was more heartbreak for the green-and-maroon fans on Tuesday.
The result also came on a day when their arch rivals East Bengal beat Indian Arrows 2-0 in New Delhi to consolidate their lead in the table while Mohun Bagan’s title hopes were fast going up in smoke.
Mohun Bagan now have 10 points from seven matches while Chennai City have seven from seven outings after their second win of the season.
Mohun Bagan defence looked like to have gone to sleep as Almeida and Joachim cleared their backline before the latter put one past a helpless Shilton Paul.
There were problems aplenty for the home side early on as Chennai City made back to back attacks early on as Mohun Bagan started to feel the heat.
Mohun Bagan got a chance in the 10th minute as Ricky Lallawmawma curled in the ball from a free kick but only to be missed in a goalmouth action.
But Mohun Bagan’s first real chance came in the 27th minute when Ansumana Kromah received the ball at his feet inside the box but his powerful strike only found the bar and seconds later Aser Pierrick Dipanda Dicka too missed another.
Mohun Bagan, like against the Indian Arrows, took the penalty route to score their lone goal but their midfield looked clueless for the better part of the match.