Odafa’s first-half goal gave Mohun Bagan a hard-earned 1-0 win against East Bengal on Sunday 20-11-2011, ensuring the team stayed within three points of iLeague leaders Dempo. Odafa scored the goal from a penalty at the 21st minute after Sunil was fouled by Okpara (something East Bengal supporters claim was not a foul – for they raised eyebrows when referees start giving right decisions going against them) inside the penalty box at the 20th minute earning Bagan a penalty.
In a largely uneventful match, until the 87th minute when power went of inside the stadium in spite of Bagan’s Secretary giving a clear indication claiming a sabotage planned – and this turned out to be exactly what he said, striker Odafa pounced the only goal of the game in the 21st minute.
However, East Bengal’s Sushant Mathew – fortunate to get referee’s favour to stay in the ground – and was worth marching orders at least twice in the game, got a booking in the 5th minute of the game.
Alan Gow – whose play acting was not so impressive and the only award he got was a booking at the 8th minute – was consistently inconsistent throughout the game. Having these kinds of players as opponents definitely gave Bagan an edge over East Bengal.
In the 20th minute Okpara failed to foil an Odafa cross to Sunil – but the best he could do was to foul Sunil to stop him from scoring – and he did the right thing – fouled Sunil. But surprisingly referee Pratap Singh awarded a penalty in favour of Bagan. One can’t believe referees are impartial even when East Bengal is playing – though these kinds of refereeing are most welcome and will help improve standard of Indian Football – at least worthless teams might not win Federation Cups and qualify for AFC by getting referee’s favours. However, one don’t expect impartial refereeing in Kolkata league.
However Referee booked Okpara for arguing with him and not for the foul.
The first half ended with Bagan leading 1-0, though Barreto missed a sitter in the 26th minute. Had this been Barreto even three years back Bagan could have increased the margin in the 26th minute.
With Zeleny and Kingshuk playing well in the central defense – the coach and the TD decided t put in Snehasish in place of Masih from the beginning of the second half. Nabi moved to the right – Barreto and Jewel moved into central midfield while Snehasish started operating from the left. However, with Masih off – East Bengal got an edge over the central midfield.
Snehasish was totally off colour when it comes to attacking from the left wing – however for at least two occasions he defended well and foiled East Bengal moves.
With Masih off – Barreto was found working as a defensive screen – and was found more inside Bagan defense than on East Bengal defense.
Jewel was trying to capture the midfield – however he still needs to learn when to leave a ball. At least twice he failed to give the final pass to Odafa that restricted Bagan to only 1 goal.
in the 68th minute Gow play acted once again trying to earn a corner – but referee, willing not to be suspended by AIFF, did the right thing by ignoring the actor.
In the 76th minute Odafa passed a ball to Sunil – Sunil missed the easiest opportunity of the day.
Meanwhile for at least 3 times Sangram really played well and stopped East Bengal strikers from scoring a goal. Zeleny and Kingshuk were outstanding as well. Surkumar also operated well from the right and Dhanarajan tried his best to foil East Bengal attacks from the left.
With no proper defensive midfield East Bengal created some opportunities but Bagan defense managed to foil these attacks.
In the 87th minute power went off – and referee had to stop the game. However power was restored later and the game took place for 9 more minutes (however it should have been for 6 minutes instead). Barreto was booked for foul on Gow – and this means Barreto will not be available for the next game against Prayag.
However Bagan fans started celebrating since the 80th minute of the game – for it was obvious that Bagan was going to win the game. Even if East Bengal had 62% of ball possession – Bagan was better off the two teams with a strong defense.
Team : Sangram, Dhanarajan, Kingshuk, Zeleny, Surkumar, Nabi, Jewel, Masih(Snehasish), Odafa, Sunil, Barreto
Goal : Odafa (P-21′)
Yellow Card – Jewel, Barreto
Picture Courtesy: Bartaman