Bagan today thrashed Kalighat Milan Samity 4-0. Ishfaq drew first blood when he scored off a direct freekick in the first half. After the lemon break, the Mariners stretched their lead to 4-0 when Chiddi completed his third hattrick of the season. It was virtually one way traffic today for 90 minutes. It was an awesome display of attacking football albeit against lowly opposition, but nevertheless a win is a win and it adds an enormous amount of confidence to everyone concerned. Edeh Chiddi got his third hattrick of the season. It looks like this boy is going to go a long way in
shaping the destiny of the club this season. We hope he goes from strength to strength, and just wish that he keeps scoring hattricksall season for us.
The match started with Mohun Bagan’s new Japanese recruit Ryuji Sueoka sitting in the reserve bench, somewhat to the disappointment of the thousands of supporters in the stands, and to those many thousands watching it on TV or following the game in our live up-dates all over the world. The players in the starting eleven piled on the pressure right from the start. Within 10 minutes, Ishfaq, Chiddi and Mickey all had shots at goal, but missed narrowly. A few corner were forced, but with some resolute defending and a bit of luck, Kalighat MS survived.
Thereafter the game drifted a bit, and the next bit of drama was in the 23rd minute, when Chiddi chased down a lobbed pass form midfield. The Kalighat goalkeeper rushed out of his penalty area and handled the ball deliberately to foil the Nigerian. It was a foul that warranted an automatic expulsion, but the referee showed him a yellow card only. The resultant free-kick was fruitless.
Three minutes later came the first goal. Ishfaq floated in a free-kick from the left into the goalmouth, there was some frantic activity in the box where quite a few players were jostling for position, Chiddi the most visible amongst them, and the ball somehow eluded everyone and bounced into the goal! (1-0) Three minutes later Zenith made a wonderful run down the right and put the ball through for Chiddi in a platter, so to speak, but Chiddi shot wide from close. It reminded people of Chiddi’s remarkable array of misses in the previous KPL match!
All this while Shilton was almost idle in the Mohun Bagan goal. The defence was holding the feeble Kalighat MS attacks at bay with elan, with Azim and Mandi both looking quite solid. One mistake from the left back Biswajit did allow a ball to be crossed dangerously in front of Shilton’s goal, there weren’t any Kalighat players at hand to convert.
On the other end, Mohun Bagan continued pressing. With young Souvik ably marshalling the midfield, there were a string of attacks, though most came to nought in the final third. Biswajit and Ishfaq did try a couple of long rangers but those were saved by the keeper, and the teams went into half-time with Mohun Bagan leading 1-0.
After the lemon break, Mohun Bagan started with renewed vigour. Tomba was more active on the right, ably supported by Zenith. Then just 3 minutes into the half a concerted move ended with Souvik’s firm cross, which was handled by a Kalighat MS defender in the box. Chiddi calmly stroked in the resultant penalty. (2-0) Further pressure followed, and the reward came soon, for Bagan and for Chiddi. Again it was Souvik who ran in with the ball and lobbed it into the box. The ball was partially parried by the keeper and it fell to Chiddi, who turned and placed it in. (3-0) Then came the moment many were waiting for. Nearly 15 minutes into the half Branco, who has been rather quiet for most of the game, was replaced by the Japanese Sueoka, amidst tremendous applause. Immediately he got into action – unleashing a pass for Ishfaq, who just failed to connect properly. Soon afterwards a ball was floated in from the left by Biswajit and Sueoka went for a flamboyant back volley, but missed!
Halfway into the half, Tomba ran in delightfully from the right but instead of passing to the unmarked Japanese, tried a shot himself and hit the side netting. Sueoka himself moved in from the right and sent in a measured pass for Chiddi, who failed to control the ball properly. Then Sueoka released Tomba on the right with a superb through, Tomba ran and centred beautifully, buit somehow Sueoka failed to trap the ball and the danger was averted.
Snehasish came in for Ishfaq and almost immediately ran strongly down the left to sent in a wonderful centre, but it fell just in front of an onrushing Sueoka. With about 15 minutes to go the Kalighat MS keeper made two good saves, first to deny a brilliant effort from Tomba with his left hand, and then reacted swiftly to get his right fingertips to a splendid try from Snehasish.
Mickey was then replaced by Suraj Mondal, who went up to take his place beside Chiddi, allowing Sueoka to drop back in midfield. This finally resulted in the last Bagan goal in the 89th minute as the Japanese controlled a loose ball in the midfield and then put Chiddi through. The strong Nigerian barged his way through a couple of defenders and then deftly dribbled past the keeper to place the ball in an empty net. (4-0) .
Young Souvik Chakraborty was named Man of the Match for his sterling display. His midfield snatching was almost flawless throughout the match, and his work-rate was admirable. Here seems to be a young man with a bright future.
Mohun Bagan :Shilton,Zenith,Azim,Sagram,Biswajit,Tomba,Mickey (Suraj 83′),Souvik,Isfaq( Snehasish 70′) ,Chidi, Branco( Sueoka 59′)
Picture Courtesy : Bartaman