The reigning Indian Super League (ISL) champions Mohun Bagan Super Giant kicked off the season with an emphatic 5-0 win over Bangladesh Army FT, in the Durand Cup opener in Kolkata on Thursday.

The 132nd edition of the tournament marked the start of the Indian football season and the Mariners were in the groove straightway, pumping in three first-half goals to virtually seal the match.

India duo of Liston Colaco (14h) and Manvir Singh (29th) set the ball rolling, before Suhail Ahmad Bhat (39th), Lalrinliana Hnamte (59th) and Kiyan Nassiri (89th) completed the domination.

Taison Singh passed the ball from the midfield for Ravi Rana to capitalise on it and then Colaco tapped the ball in.

Manvir then doubled the lead from a 29th-minute spotkick. It was Hnamte who was brought down inside the box and a penalty was awarded to Mohun Bagan Super Giant.

The 18-year-old Suhail then showed his composure, lobbing the ball over the Bangladesh Army goalkeeper with a superb 39th minute finish to give the home favourites a commanding lead.

The visiting team received another setback in the 45+2nd minute when Mohammad Minazur Rahman was sent off. He got his second yellow for his foul on Colaco for the BAFT to be reduced to 10 players.

Having showed his 360-degree turn to deliver an accurate cross to Suhail for the third goal, Colaco was in thick of action again for the fourth.

The India centre-forward delivered a low cross inside the BAFT box from a freekick for Hnamte, to make it 4-0 in the 58th minute.

The rising 22-year-old Nassiri then completed the rout, with Colaco once again playing a role.

It was Colaco’s powerful shot that the Bangladesh Army FT goalkeeper Ashraful Islam Rana failed to collect and Nassiri struck from the rebound to extend their lead.

Led by the 21-year-old centre back Sumit Rathi, Mohun Bagan fielded a second-string side without any foreigners and had the senior India duo of Manvir and Colaco.

‘The duo manned the attack in a 3-5-2 formation by Bastab Roy, the team’s designated coach for the Asia’s oldest tournament.

‘We tried to keep him, but there is nothing we can do’

FC Barcelona head coach Xavi admitted that he is disappointed with Ousmane Dembele’s transfer to Paris Saint Germain.

ESPN revealed that Dembele is set to join the French League champions PSG last week. Xavi didn’t hold back to express his views on the transfer and told Catalan television after his side’s 1-0 friendly win over AC Milan in Las Vegas as quoted by ESPN, “I am a little disappointed. He has told us that he wants to go tp PSG. We tried to keep him, but there is nothing we can do. He told me he has already spoken to [PSG coach] Luis Enrique and [PSG president Nasser] Al-Khelaifi. There was no way to convince him, this is the final decision and it is his personal decision. PSG have made an offer that is completely out of the market. We cannot compete with it,” Xavi added.

Last year Dembele signed a two-year contract extension after Xavi expressed his desire to keep him at the club. The two-year extension that he signed was valid until 2024. According to ESPN, there was a clause in his contract which included a 50m euro release clause that was valid until July 31. That clause doubled to 100m euro after the date passed.

Xavi admitted that he knew about the clause and said that he didn’t believe that Dembele would leave the club.

“It’s a shame, we had taken great care of him to ensure he was happy here,” Xavi added in a news conference as quoted by ESPN.

“I knew all about the clause. Alemany and I have been together day and night and we knew there was a chance he would go. But he seemed happy to me. I didn’t expect it, but it has happened. At the end of the day, it’s a scenario we have prepared for and now we have to strengthen because it weakens us,” Xavi added.

Dembele joined the Spanish club from Borussia Dortmund in 2017. Injuries disrupted his time at the club, he only made 185 appearances in all games, during this period he scored 40 goals.

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