Mohun Bagan today beat Kalimpong XI 5-0 in an exhibition match. Ishfaq, Branco, Santa Kumar scored one goal each while Suraj Mandal scored twice for Mariners. General Secretary Anjan Mitra said before match that the fund collected from sale of tickets will be used in development of football in Kalimpong and for producing good footballers from the area. The match was played in rather poor condition. PICTURE COURTESY: SANGBAD PRATIDIN
Coach Karim Bencharifa said, "The condition was quite bad when the match was going on, there was rainfall and lot of cloud. But the most positive thing is that this condition did not dampen the spirit of the players of Mohun Bagan. Other than Marcos, Kulunthungan (who are slightly injured, nothing much to worry about that) and Shilton and Sangram, every player present in the camp got a chance to play and really all of them fought hard and played well. I wanted to see the fitness of the players and I am quite satisfied with it. Although this first preconditional camp was basically on improving endurance and fitness in general and there was no tactical discussion, which I will start next week in Kolkata, during the match the players still showed good understanding."
PICTURE COURTESY: Sangbad Pratidin
On resting Sangram, Shilton he said, "We will have few more practice matches, there Shilton and Sangram will get to play, today I wanted to see Chirodeep and Pralay’s performance in match."
The match was divided into 30 minutes with 2 breaks. In first half, the team comprised of Chirodeep as goalkeeper, Biswajit Saha as left back, Zenith as right back, Vashan and Azim as the stopper duo. In midfield, I had Snehasish in left half, Tomba as right half, Mickey and Lalramluah in central position. The forward line comprised of Ishfaq and Kartick Kisku. Mohun Bagan played in 4-4-2 formation in first half.
In 2nd half, the team played in 4-3-3 with Chirodeep as goalkeeper, Zenith as right back, Ishfaq as left back, Karan Atwal and Azim as central defenders. In midfield, it was James and Lalramluah as side halves with Subhokumar as holding medio. The forward line had Suraj and Kartick as two wingers and Chiddi as striker.
In the last half of the match, Mohun Bagan went back to 4-4-2 formation with Pralay Dutta as goalkeeper, James as right back, Rino Anto as left back, and Karan and Mandi in central defence. Santa Kumar was left half and Subhojit Majumdar right half, in central medio it was Subho Kumar and Manish. The forward line had Branco and Suraj Mandal.
"Apart from checking fitness level, I also used few players in different position like James, Lalramluah and Ishfaq. Ishfaq played one half as striker and the next in left back. Similarly James played as right back and side half," coach said. When asked about Zenith’s position, Karim compared him with Essien of Chelsea. "You know, when I was in Churchill, I used him in central medio in holding position and also in right back and left back. When I did not have Nauba or Robert, I put Zenith in their position. He is a very utility player like Essien, coach Jose Mourinho used Essein in multiple positions."
"Today every player played well, I can’t single out 1-2 players", was his reaction when asked to name today’s best player.
The first goal was scored by Ishfaq. At that moment, there was so much cloud that even the players could not see whom they are passing the ball to. Amidst this weather, from Snehasish’s brilliant center from left, Ishfaq headed the ball in to score the first goal. This goal was the only goal in the first half. In second half, no goal was scored. In 1st minute of the final half, Santa Kumar increased the margin. Branco scored few minutes later. Suraj Mandal scored the last two goals, first one from Branco pass and the last one he dribbled past goalkeeper and made a cool finish.
Tomorrow, there will be one session of ice bath and swimming pool.