Barasat: Defending champions Mohun Bagan easily defeated debutants Aizawl FC 3-1 to begin their campaign with a bang in the I-League football tournament opener at Vidyasagar Krirangan here on Saturday.
Mohun Bagan's new signing Cornell Glenn struck the opening goal of the I-League in the fifth minute before completing a brace in the 21st, while Balwant Singh completed the rout eight minutes later as the title holders sealed the issue in the first-half itself.
The newly-promoted Mizoram outfit, cheered on by about 100-odd spectators, put up a full strength squad with Alfred Jayran as sole forward, but he failed to convert any of the chances and it was Mohun Bagan defender Pritam Kotal who reduced the margin with an own goal in the 17th minute.
The title-holders, thus, opened their account with three points while the debutants were also impressive, but it was their inexperience that proved costly.
Trinidad and Tobago recruit Glenn, who switched allegiance from Shillong Lajong, combined well up front with Balwant as Mohun Bagan were off to a flier with the former slotting home the opening goal of the 2015-16 season.
Glenn received an attacking ball from the left and the former Lajong forward converted it without any fuss to open his account.
The early goal subdued the intensity of the second division champions who began on an attacking note with Jayran's impressive run from the left, and he had several raids into the Mohun Bagan box but failed to capitalise.
Aizawl had some luck going in their favour when Mohun Bagan defender Kotal managed to find his own net while trying to clear the ball from Jayran for the equaliser inside 17 minutes.
But four minutes later, Glenn restored parity by combining well with Balwant. Balwant ran in from the left and set it up for Glenn who turned 180 degrees before shooting past AFC goalkeeper Soram Poirei.
Balwant soon opened his account as he beat the Aizawl defenders with his pace before firing in his right footer into the bottom left corner. There was nothing much in the second half with both the sides failing to add anything to the tally.
Bagan displayed some shoddy defending after the changeover and they almost scored a second own goal when Kingshuk Debnath tried to clear the ball with a sloppy effort which just went wide of the net in the 51st minute.
With 20 minutes left, the visitors had an opportunity on the edge of the box but captain Mstluanga's freekick could not go past the wall and the rebound was then shot off into the stands. The Mizoram outfit missed a sitter in the 79th minute when Albert's shot grazed past the outside of the net.