Mohun Bagan started the journey in this year’s Federation Cup with a goalless draw against Churchill Brothers. Both sides had a number of chances to score but none of them managed to.
Mohun Bagan started the match with a 4-4-2 formation. Arindam was the custodian. The four defenders were – Nirmal, Eche, Khelemba and Lalrozama Fanai. The midfield consisted of – Denson, Masih , Jewel and Nabi. Tolgay paired skipper, Odafa up front. With both Denson and Masih operating in the centre of the midfield, Jewel had to play in the right wing. Jewel played a number of matches as a winger last season, and it is no surprise that he doesn’t enjoy playing in that position. Today was not different either, as Jewel was ineffective in the right wing, though his shot was saved by the wood-work, in the 30th minute. Also Rakesh Masih was very slow in the midfield, allowing his counterparts Beto and Lenny to move up and create pressure on our defense. The best chance for Mohun Bagan in the first half, fell to Tolgay in the 41st minute. He went one-on-one with Churchill Brothers’ keeper, Sandip Nandy, but failed to score. Odafa also got a chance to score in the 28th minute, but his shot went over the bar. Arindam also made two great saves (26th and 37th minute) in the first half.
As play resumed after the lemon break, Santosh Kashyap, replaced Masih with Manish Bhargav. This move resulted in two things – 1) Allowed Jewel to play freely in his own position at the centre of the midfield. 2) Increased the mobility in the right wing. Mohun Bagan made a brilliant start to the 2nd half as they managed to put a lot of pressure on the Churchill defense. The Mariners earned a corner in the 48th minute and the woodwork again came to the rescue of Churchill as Denson’s shot was denied by the post in the 50th minute. In the 52nd minute the Green and Maroon Brigade were denied a genuine penalty and shockingly Tolgay was booked for play-acting. In the 63rd minute, Tolgay got injured and had to be substituted by Sabeeth. Despite Tolgay’s absence Mohun Bagan continued to attack and create chances. In the 65th minute Fanai moved up in overlap, down the left, to find Nabi, who in turn found Odafa, whose shot was again denied by the woodwork. Beto scored in the 73rd minute, but thankfully his goal was ruled out due to offside. Mohun Bagan earned a number of corners in the last 10 minutes, but failed to make use of them. Coach made his last change in the 87th minute, when he replaced Nabi with Snehasish, but it did not make any change to the scoreline, which ended 0-0.
Team: Arindam, Nirmal, Eche, Khelemba, Lalrozama, Jewel, Denson, Masih(Manish Bhargav HT), Nabi(Snehasish 87’), Tolgay(Sabeeth 63’), Odafa.
Yellow Cards: Eche, Tolgay, Khelemba.
NEXT MATCH: Mohun Bagan v/s Air India [22/9/2012 at 7 p.m. (I.S.T.)]