Weak performance of midfield and appalling refereeing standard result in a goalless draw. Major part of the second half Port Trust players wasted time and referee however was only a spectacle and did not take any stern action against them. Gopal Das took almost 5 minutes to enter the ground when he was replacing injured Sibram Dey. Remember last year in I league, Shilton was injured and he was shown card for limping off the ground. If that is taken as the benchmark, then 3-4 Port players should have been shown the card. In one instance, linesman Kashinath Sen adjudged MB player offside whereas the player was completely onsite and Bagan could have got a chance to score from that attack.
However, Bagan midfield also displayed poor football today. Coach Kareem had James Singh in left half position but Ishfaq was missed very badly as his down the run the left flank often caused panic in opponent box as seen in last few matches. Junior James Singh was also far from his best and often he mispassed, same can be said of Lalkamal. Last match’s hattrick scorer Tulunga also had a disappointing performance. Barreto tried his best as he came down to distribute the ball and delivered quite a few good centers which Lalampuia, Odafa missed.
Mohun Bagan dominated the match and came upon several scoring opportunities, the easiest being missed by Lalampuia off a Barreto flick inside the box. Lalampuia had open goal in front of him but could not connect the ball properly. Within 5 minutes, Bagan missed two easy chances when Barreto’s shot was blocked by goalkeeper and Odafe shooting wide from a corner, he should have done better. From two corners, Odafa and Vasan head wide from very close range. Few minutes before half time, Barreto delivered a good center from right, however, no one was in position to connect the ball.
In 2nd half, Branco was brought in place of Lalampuia and Lalramlua replaced James. Branco tried his best but did not get much support. It would have been better if Lalampuia would have been kept in the forward along with Branco and Barreto playing from a little deep, so that he could have delivered his passes to the striking pair. Naveen Kumar played for last 10 minutes and made quite a few centers down the right flank, but unfortunately Mariners could not score. Port Trust hardly got any chance to score thanks to Man of the Match Odafe.
The quality of referring and match officiating was in question as they did not do enough to stop the time wasting tactics of Port Trust. Mohun Bagan officials have asked for outstation referees to officiate Kolkata league matches.
One can recall that a city club, always alleged to have enjoyed CRA’s favour, breached the U-19 rule this year by playing without U-19 for about 7 minutes but the referees couldn’t (or didn’t) do much about it and IFA still have not taken any action against this.
Kareem at the end of the match told that “The fact that we managed to create so many chances proves that we didn’t play too badly. I have to think about the positives and I am more or less happy with performance today.”
TEAM: Sangram, Habibur, Odafe, Vasan, Suman Bose (Naveen Kumar 78th), Malsawntluanga, James Singh Sr. (Lalramluaha 46th), James Singh Jr., Lalkamal, Lalampuiya (Branco 59th), Jose Barreto.
PICTURE COURTESY: SANGBAD PRATIDIN, ACHINTYA ROY