Mohun Bagan today gave away two vital points which would have come handy at the death of this edition of the I League. Kareem Bencharifa has to be congratulated for his faith in the young Shilton Paul. Bagan had yet another bad day in office, it seems to have become a habit with the Green and Maroons. Bagan today as in almost all matches this year, let in one when a Dipak backpass was headed down to Amos by Rakesh Masih, who gratefully slotted home past a diving Shilton who, surprisingly was standing almost at the top of the six yard box. (1-0) Rakesh Masih, the tall, dark and handsome medio from Gurdaspur was an asset last, but this year he is a pale shadow of the previous years form.
Branco scored a snotter today when he deftly directed a centre from Snehasish in. (1-1) The tide had turned and Bagan was on the charge. Chiddi’s run of misery continues as his grounder was parried by the Sporting custodian. The return shot by Branco was again parried by the goalie. In this sequence, the first thing that comes to mind is that had either of these shots would have been a goal had it been off the ground. The lead came when James Singh sent in a lob to the unmarked Marcos, who made no mistake in slotting home. (1-2)
Then the unbelievable happened Sporting pulled back one and the scores were level. (2-2)An innocuous centre was flicked on by Amos to the onrushing Joseph Perriera, who made an unbelievable finish with a flick with the left outstep from the top of the box. The Bagan custodian was, again, off his line, somewhere near the top of the six yard box. Why doesn’t someone tell him that he needs to spend more time on the goal line? That would solve half his problems.
At this point it was looking like as if every attack would result in a goal, but the referee intervened and declared that it was half time.
The second half saw a reinvigorated SCG, they attacked from the word go and the Bagan defense was in splinters. The Bagan goalie did his name proud for it was this youngster who saved his coach from certain shame. Such was the condition of the much vaunted team that at one stage, the only striker upfront was Suraj Mondal, Chiddi had to be brought down to the midfield so that the tidal wave called Sporting Clube de Goa could be held to a draw.
A lot of questions need to answered, why was Suraj Mondal brought on in place of Branco? Why was Ishfaq brought on in place of Snehasish, Why was Tomba brought on almost at the death when he could have replaced Snehasish and played the flank with James. Why is Ishfaq brought on in every match when the poor confused soul can’t figure out why he is there? Why is Subho Kumar made to warm the bench every day while boys like Ishfaq and Suraj (now thats a cruel joke) get the chance.
It was an unbelievable display of miserable football, in the first half by both sides, and in the second the visitors stuck to their role as the hosts turned a page and charged with whatever they had. The young Shilton did a splendid job of keeping the sporting attack out.
The team and the team management should really think hard about their strategy in the future games. They must keep in mind that they have millions of supporters and fans all over the world. One small example of which is the multi-gym that is being gifted to the club by its supporters, just because they have exorcised a 34 year old ghost. But they must remember that pumping five past a local outfit is not and should not be the ultimate aim of Mohun Bagan Athletic Club. The players should know that they are wearing the most privileged jersey in this country and if they are not up to it, it’s a shame. They must also learn that to Mohun Bagan, being champion is all that matters, if they are not champions, it does not matter whether they are 2nd or 2nd last. Ours is a unique culture, those who understand live on forever in our hearts, and others fall by the wayside.
Being 2nd best is not good enough for us.
Mohun Bagan :Shilton, Mohanraj, Deepak, Masih, Surkumar, Snehashis (Isfaq), Marcos, Manish, James (Tomba), Branco (Suraj), Chiddi.
Sporting Goa:Luis, Samananda, Elvino (Mathew), Rogen, Felipe, Bibiano, Bishsewar (Freiman), Rovan, Joseph, Amos, Tayo.
Referee: Dinesh Nair