Mohun Bagan today lost 3 vital points against Mohammedan Sporting. They were defeated by 2-1 in a Kolkata Premier League match held in Salt Lake Stadium. Thus far, this was the weakest display of Bagan team this year out of the 5 matches they have played so far. Sunday scored the first goal for MSC while Lalampuia equalized in 2nd half but just seconds before final whistle Mohanraj scored an unfortunate own goal. Sporting, now on a dozen points from five games, were the better team, particularly in the opening session. Sporting, now on a dozen points from five games, were the better team, particularly in the opening session.
In the first half, Mohun Bagan did not play well enough and it was Sporting team all around. Mohammedan mainly attacked via Mariners’ right flank with Habibur displaying poor form. He was later substituted in 34th minute and Navin Kumar replaced him. In 21st minute, MSc scored their first goal when from a threw pass off Prashanta, their Liberian recruit Sunday scored in 21st minute via a penalty when Odafa brought him down via a badly timed tackle. Odafa scored from penalty though the penalty was quite a poor shot, Sangram could have done better. Bagan got two half chance in this half, once Barreto took a crispy left footer which was cleared by a Sporting defender and in another chance Lalkamal took a poor shot from edge of the box. Just before lemon break, Mohammedan Sporting got a very easy chance, the easiest chance of the match, Satyajit went past Sangram and his pass just could not reach Rajib, a lucky escape for Mariners.
However, in the 2nd half, Mohun Bagan played better football and attacked more. Bagan got quite a few chance and in 56th minute Barreto gave a gem of a pass to Tulunga who passed the ball to Lalampuia who just had to push the ball in an empty net making it 1-1. Barreto really played outstanding football especially in 2nd half and he was marshalling most of the moves. It was because of him that Bagan came back into the game. He played slightly deep in 2nd half and distributed the ball well to the side halfs so as to enable wing play. On 62nd minute, from a left footed Naveen Kumar center, Barreto headed beautifully but the ball was just saved by Naseem and prevented it from going in, a great effort from Barreto indeed. Tapan Maity replaced Lalramlua in 67th minute. In 69th minute, off another Naveen Kumar center, this time a right footed one, the ball went straight to Lalampuia whose head hit post with goalkeeper beaten all ends up. He should have definitely done much better, it was a great center from Naveen Kumar. In 79th minute from a corner, Lalampuia got an easy ball in the box with only goalkeeper to beat but he took a lot of time to shoot and the ball was cleared by defender, a very costly miss by Lalam. Bagan were continuously attacking at this time but time and again failed to score due to easy misses. Just before end of match, Lalkamal missed the easiest chance for Bagan when he could not trap the ball off a Barreto pass inside box with only goalkeeper to beat. Mohammedan Sporting, however, gave the final blow to Bagan and had the last laugh With the match having rolled into added time, Sporting’s Bimal Pariyar followed the ball closely and entered the Bagan box, but Anand Vasan got to the ball before the Sporting player and passed on to Mohan Raj. The defender failed to keep his cool and put the ball home past Sangram, an extremely poor decision by Mohan Raj to pass the ball instead of clearing the ball for corner and Sangram is also to be partially blamed as he needlessly rushed out with two defenders already with the ball. A gifted goal by Bagan defenders to Sporting team.
For Mohun Bagan, Sangram was confident throughout the match but was partially to be blamed for both goals. He could have done much better to stop the poor penalty. In defence, Vashan is quiet slow and Kareem must be waiting for Manju and Deepak to return so as to replace him. Odafa otherwise played well but made few costly errors. Habibur was in bad form today and his replacement Naveen Kumar is very fast and his overlap is very good but his defensive quality needs to be improved. Mohanraj did not play up to his standard today. Midfield could not function well today especially James Singh and Lalkamal. With the amount of chance Lalkamal is getting, it is high time that he start performing and stop making silly errors. In I league, it will be beneficial for Mariners if they recruit the 3rd foreigner as a midfielder. Bagan now needs someone like Douglas who can lead the team from behind as with Barreto upfront, Bagan will create chances and score goals but the problem is with blocking and tackling in midfield, due to the lack of which the opponent teams are so easily reaching Bagan penalty box by playing 5-6 passes, this needs to be stopped as otherwise it creates huge pressure of defence. Lalramlua could not do much and his replacement Tapan Maity seemed to playing in the wrong side. As he do not have good left foot, he was seen running down the left flank and while taking the center, it was seen that he was trying to do it with right foot thus giving time to Sporting defenders to clear the ball. Tulunga was far from best today. Barreto was outstanding as usual and he created panic in Sporting defence time and again but with missed chances from Lalampuia and Lalkamal, Bagan could not get any points from this match. Lalampuia though scored one easy goal but missed couple of easy goals. It is high time he also use his chance with players like Branco in reserve bench. Today Ishfaq was missed the most as his run down the left flank was missed mostly by Mariners.
After the match, Kareem blamed whole team for defeat and not just only Mohanraj for scoring the own goal. He gave credit to Theo and Okero for brilliant performance and told that draw would have been good result with Mohun Bagan playing well in 2nd half but unfortunately the 2nd goal changed things. He is however confident that in the next two matches team will play well and get full points. Mohanraj was extremely upset after scoring the sameside goal. He broke into tears and told that this is the first time he has scored in this manner and it will be like a nightmare to him.
Mohun Bagan is now placed in 2nd position with 10 points from 5 matches. They next play George Telegraph on August 2 at 3.30 pm in Mohun Bagan ground.
Meanwhile, tomorrow is Mohun Bagan day, 29th July. At 2 pm, Mohun Bagan junior players will participate in an exhibition match. Then there will be a match amongst veterans. The final match of the day will be between sports journalist team and actors of Tollywood. After the matches, the under-12 team which has just won the Yakult Danone Nations Cup in Delhi and the under-13 team which have won the nursery league will be felicitated followed by Baichung Bhutia for receiving Padma Shree. Baichung’s wife will be present to receive. Mohun Bagan Ratna will be given to M. A. Sattar. Though not well but still Sattar will come to receive the award just because it will be given by his favorite club Mohun Bagan. In the musical program following the ceremony, Nachiketa and Mita Chatterjee will perform for the supporters and members. This will be followed by the dinner.
TEAM: Sangram, Habibur (Naveen Kumar 34), Odafa, Vashan, Mohanraj, Tulunga, Lalkamal, James Singh Sr., Lalramlua (Tapan Maity 67), Barreto, Lalampuia.