Mohun Bagan beat East Bengal by 2-0 in a Sahara CFL derby match. Odafa and Manish Bhargav (u-19) scored the goals for the Mariners. Before the start of the match the local outfit Kingfisher East Bengal was well ahead than the National Club of India as per experts’ opinions. But the end of the match scoreboard made the experts eat their words. On a serious note, Sangram, the veteran goalkeeper of Mohun Bagan did not face any difficult ball from the KEB attack; this simple fact revealed clearly how the two teams performed on the day.

In the local league Mohun Bagan are well behind their arch rivals as far as the league table is concerned. But Bablu’s boys never let this bog them down in the match. In fact, the Mariners could have won by 4 goals at least, if Jewel Raja had not missed a couple of easy chances created by Odafa and Lima. However, it was the victory of Team Mohun Bagan, a result of total team effort and coach’s strategy.

There were light showers and cloudy skies in Kolkata from morning today. But Mohun Bagan’s victory brought 1000 watts light into the face of the Mohun Bagan fans. In the last round of the I-League, Mohun Bagan were beaten by Pune FC while East Bengal won the match against Air India. So Bagan were under pressure, which they overcame successfully by beating their arch rivals.

In the match TD Subrata Bhattacharjee and Coach Prasanta Banerjee depended on the newcomer u-19 from MB Academy Manish Bhargav. He scored the goal against George in the previous Sahara CFL match, on debut. Today he scored another brilliant goal – a gem of a header. We’ll request the TD and coach as the fans of Mohun Bagan to try Manish Bhargav in I League matches too. Bagan started with Mohan Raj, Kingshuk Debnath, Anwar Ali and Rahim Nabi in defence with Daniel Zelini and Rakesh Masih as defensive screen. Jewel Raja, Hudson Lima and the young Manish were in midfield, while Odafa was the lone striker.

The first ten minutes of the match was a test of temperament of sorts for both the teams; after that Bagan held the game as per their TD’s tactics, while East Bengal were gradually losing the hold on the game. In the 17th minute Jewel Raja was booked by the Uzbek referee due to a foul on Okpara. After that in 21st minute Bagan’s left back Mohonraj was injured and Dhanrajan came in place of him. Just a minute later an attack was initiated by Rahim Nabi who passed the ball to Odafa Okolie just outside of penalty box, on the right. Odafa’s deft turn took him away from 4 East Bengal defenders and his brilliant grounder was too powerful for goalkeeper Sandip Nandy to handle – he could only watch helplessly as the ball went off his hands and roll into the net. (1-0)

In the 28th minute the under-19 chap Manish Bhargav was fouled dangerously by Penn. Bagan got the free-kick from the right side of penalty box. Lima took a low, hard free-kick into the box towards the near post which was guided in by Manish Bhargav with a superb glancing header. The ball went into the net like a bullet. It was a truly brilliant goal by the young gun of McDowell Mohun Bagan. (2-0).

For the rest of the half Mohun Bagan dominated a stunned East bengal side, initiating a few more attacks through adept passing and splendid teamwork, but could not increase the lead.

In the second half KEB coach Trevor Morgan made changes after about ten minutes of further mohun Bagan domination, bringing in all three substitutes in a desperate attempt to turn the tide. Bagan TD took off Lima and brought on Snehasis Chakraborty. East Bengal tried desperately to reduce the margin, but Bagan’s defensive shape was immaculate, and Sangram was virtually idle! In the 75th minute there was a quick counter-attack and Odafa passed the ball to an unmarked Jewel. Jewel had only the goalkeeper to beat but instead of placing the ball to one corner of the net, he tried to chip the ball over the head of the advancing keeper, only to chip it well over the bar!

In conclusion everybody must admit that Mohun Bagan were by far the superior team on the field today. The strategy and tactics of the coaching staff were quite brilliant, and the team executed those instructions perfectly. Each Mohun Bagan player played at the top of his game today to help Bagan to bring a memorable victory for them. is congratulating the entire Mohun Bagan team for this outstanding performance. We wish them all the best for the rest of the season, specially in the I League.

Mohun Bagan: Sangram (21); Nabi (19), Kingshuk (4), Anwar (5), Mohanraj (26) [Dhanrajan (6)], Manish Bhargav (34), Zeleni (2), Masih (20), Jewel (23) [Barreto (10)], Lima (27) [Snehasis (25)], Odafa (9). 

Score: Mohun Bagan – 2  (Odafa 22′; Manish 28′)

             East Bengal – 0

 Picture Courtesy: Sangbad Pratidin          

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