Mohun Bagan Super Giants recorded an easy 3-1 win against debutant Punjab FC to kick off their Indian Super League title defence in style on Saturday, September 23. Australian forwards Jason Cummings and Dimitri Petratos registered first-half strikes and then Manvir Singh rounded off with a third goal to give the champions a thumping win at Kolkata's Salt Lake Stadium.
The Mariners entered the game after their historic record-breaking triumph in the Durand Cup. They continued the momentum with a dominant display over the new-promoted Punjab side at home ground. Jason Cummings made an instant impact on his ISL debut for the giants with a breakthrough goal in the first half and then also provided a brilliant assist to Petratos's goal.
Punjab were impressive after the break as they created a few amazing chances to find a way back into the game. They managed to pull one back through Luca Majcen, the leading goal-scorer in the I-League last season, with a calm finish past Vishal Kaith in the 53' minute.
But the hosts killed the game with Manvir Singh scoring the team's third goal in the 64' minute and the defence stood strong for the remaining game to keep the scoreline to 3-1. Mohun Bagan will next face last season's runner-up Bengaluru FC at home on September 27 whereas Punjab will target a maiden ISL win when they take on FC Goa in Fatorda on October 2.
Mohun Bagan Super Giants starting lineup: Vishal Kaith (gk), Hamill, Yuste, Anwar, Subhasish, Glan, Sahal Abdul Samad, Jason Cummings, Asish, Dimitri Petratos, Colaco.
Punjab FC starting lineup: Chemjong (gk), Salah, Lhungdim, Asisi, Prabhu, Pradhan, Mera, Talal, Vanlalremdika, Majcen, Mohan
Meanwhile, in another fixture on Sunday, Jerry Mawihmingthanga and Diego Mauricio were on the scoresheet as Odisha FC registered a 2-0 statement win over Chennaiyin FC at Bhubaneshwar's Kalinga Stadium.