Mohun Bagan defeated JCT 2-0 today in an I league match held in Salt Lake Stadium. Mohun Bagan played one player short for more than 45 minutes when Odafe was sent off after he was shown yellow card for the second time in 40th minute. Barreto and Ishfaq scored the goals for Mohun Bagan. Ishfaq was adjudged Man of the Match.
This was Mohun Bagan’s third straight win and the most notable thing is that in two out of the three games, Mariners played with 10 man.
Mohun Bagan played inspiring football today and this was one of the best performance of the team in this season. Mohun Bagan started the match in a positive note and looked in an attacking frame of mind. In 6 minutes, Ishfaq took a shot from outside the box which just went wide. Then Barreto gave a measured pass to Baichung whose shot unfortunately went straight to goalkeeper. From a Marcos corner, Manju missed a golden opportunity to give Mohun Bagan a lead when he could not head the ball inside goal. Mohun Bagan went ahead in 15 minutes via Ishfaq goal. James Singh Sr. delivered a center from right which dropped inside JCT box and Ishfaq came running and with a spot jump connected the ball to perfection with his head beating onrushing JCT goalkeeper, Mohun Bagan thus took a 1-0 lead. In 30th minute, James Singh again centered the ball from right flank which went to Barreto inside box, Barreto nicely chest trapped the ball and when he was about to take a shot, he was pushed by JCT defender, Julius and referee did not hesitate to give penalty in favor of Mohun Bagan. Barreto scored from the penalty by placing the ball to the left of goalkeeper who had dived in that direction but could not stop the ball. Mohun Bagan went 2-0 up.
In 42nd minute, referee Dinesh Nair gave marching orders to Odafe when he received his second yellow card of the match. Karim then changed his strategy and pushed back Masih to stopper position along with Manju, Marcos was shifted to defensive medio and Barreto went back to support midfield and he was changed from forward to attacking medio and Baichung became the lone striker. Mohun Bagan played cautious football in 2nd half being one man down but from counter attack got quite a few chances. In 62nd minute, Barreto centered the ball from right wing and Baichung brilliantly headed the ball but it went just over the goal post. In 75th minute, Barreto made a solo effort when he ran with the ball from midfield and then from just outside the box took a right footer which JCT goalkeeper dived on his left to make a brilliant save. JCT just got one chance in this half but Sangram made a valiant save to prevent JCT from scoring. Ishfaq got Man of the Match award. Ishfaq really played well but Marcos or Barreto could have got the award too. Both Barreto and Marcos had a great match today and controlled the midfield. Marcos was superb in his dual role of attacking medio in 1st half and defensive blocker in 2nd half. Mohun Bagan has now 12 points from 8 matches and will next play against Vasco on 20th November which is an away match of Mohun Bagan.
After the match, Kareem said, "I am very happy with how my team fought with one man short. Yes I had to change my plan like the Dempo match. I always have an alternate plan and apply it according to the situation of the match. However, whatever strategy or plan that I make is in paper, it is the players who execute them in field, so credit really should be given to them for this brilliant performance. Our team spirit has been very good." When asked to comment about Baichung, Kareem said, "Baichung is trying a lot and he played quite well as lone striker. He had to play against two great stoppers Julius and Anwar." Kareem further added, "Actually I cannot pick up a particular player, everybody performed their role to perfection. It is a team effort that has resulted in this three consecutive win." On asked whether Mohun Bagan has now become a contender to win I league, he said, "After winning 3 matches, we have now moved up in the table but still we have to perform consistently and keep on winning."
Mohun Bagan will leave for Goa day after tomorrow to play against Vasco.
MOHUN BAGAN: Sangram, Dipak, Manju, Odafe, Habibur, Ishfaq, Masih, Marcos, James Singh Sr. (Tulunga 89), Baichung (Lalampuia 85), Barreto (Lalkamal 90).
PICTURE COURTESY: TRIDIP SHEET, SOUMYADEB SINHA