Udit Mitra was part of the supporters who were cheering for Mohun Bagan at the Balewadi Stadium here at Pune on sunday. Udit reports from the ground.
"The story of two halves…. The atmosphere in the ground was not electric (as the great ravi shastri wud hve described empty stands)..but underlying situation was bit tensed for bagan players as they approach to take field. Understandable, as unfamiliar territory in I league question their ability along with a limping Tolgay raised further doubt. 2 players were indeed very focussed..Odafa and Nirmal.
With their customary prayers they sprung into the field. (On a side track a small story, urs truly was fortunate enough to climb up stairs with a limping and visibly upset/frustrated Tolgay. Had a quick chat with him..had weird smile on his face and said not sure what’s happening in life, got himself injured in Knee in last practise session. Told him take your time Mate, come back fully fit and take us to glory. Shook hand, took a snap, then moved on to the match). The players from both side were in customary hurdles, ended with hand raised 2wards sky and sharapova like grunt. Meanwhile we were busy cheering the boys and fitting the Mariners dream flag in a gd location. Weather was good…wheeeeeeee…went the whistle..the match started on time. There were 80prcnt support (in numbers for AI) but 50:50 in volume…as we decided to take Mamata didi route. Raised the decible with choicest of words…not repeating here. But will share few gems later. The game was at best sublimely (pardon me for using this adjective) bad, players were more intended in playing towards sky, as if god would touch the ball and bless it. AI was more effective on left side whereas MB on the right side. Credits due on both side to 2 bongs..rahim nabi and snehasish. Meanwhile defence was settling down nicely without a non existent half line..as Jewel was hell bent to not justify his name. Manish maithani was decent while attacking and holding the ball quite a few occassion feeding the ball nicely to Odafa and Stanley. In one such case..stanley got a ball within the box, dribble passed one..the goalie (a good one) was unable to stop him…we all cried GOOOOOL…it was..but, stan with all the hard work passed the ball to Odafa, who was in offside..goal cancelled. Why stan din’t take the shot..I dnt know the reason but suspect a person who might know is MMS ..so chances of you knowing in future is very very (can add your side very s) remote, as he is a person going to die with lotsa secrets!!..Meanwhile Gogonacchio continued…bagan fans, started wondering is it going to be another day of grief nd pain? Suddenly AI got a corner…the ball was flicked into goal…the scorer was faster than the reff. To change the scoreline…we saw the linesman..and ws satisfied..it was an offside. Yours truly used the best of slangs 2wards the scoreman!! First half ended..nothing more to write about..second half started with unchanged team..story continued with gogonachio and sporadic run from nabi in right..suddenly Mridul Bannerjee decided to make a change..jewel raja..who was aimlessly running around the field so far..as if to find, which direction his home lies..got solace..reserve bench where heart lies. DD (denson devdas) took his place and the turn around started..he started holding the ball…playing it to odafa and nabi nicely. Meanwhile suddenly left wing became very active too..thanks to stanley..he just realised..left is the place to be!! 60mins over bagan attacking..AI defending..suddenly Amitava ..used choicest of adjectives for DD and AM . AI supporters…equally confused…started thinking which of their players will fit into these acronyms!! Suddenly odafa dribble passed 2 AI defenders..inside box, of a pass from stan was about 2 unleash a venomous left footer was tackled beautifully by Mickey..but as the luck wud have it..the ball rocket past their goalkeeper to the goal…suddenly sweet city of pune turned into noisy neighbourhood of north kolkata fish market….we screamed danced in joy…after a cursory look @ linesman!!!! Yesssss…it just happened…the deadlock is broken…Bagan started playing better..organised..midfield started working..snatching..blocking all is well!!! We smell another one is around the corner!! We raised the tempo..and started screaming our advice to MB players!! Suddenly there was a clearance from AI defence high in the air..slowly coming 2wards middle third of MB half…we turned..and to our horror found Shilton is playing in the midfield!!! Amitava reminded shiton of his father, along with 14 generations..the ball finally landed from atmosphere…aibor was getting ready to head it away…but shilton being shilton…climbed up Aibor’s shoulder and headed the ball 2wards Henry’s feet (ala Rakesh Masi style). And by mistake if you think all these happening near MB goal line ur mistaken, happening near MB box…ur wrong again..action was in midfield…henry dutifully lobbed the ball 2wards empty/naked MB goal…Saikat turned back…amitava trying to remind Shilton the existence of his family in this planet..and shilton tried to sprint back..by the time he reached top of box..the ball just went outside. I closed my mouth as the heart was about to pop out!!! Followed…slangs from all other players to Shilton and some 2wards Hemanta dora. Rest of the match was MB dominating..and Odafa hitting bar twice..once a fierce left footer another a deft placement by right foot. Finally after 4 added minutes match ended…we got 3points..much needed. Some photos were clicked..sharing it here. Best dialect of the match towards 80th minute..nabi was creating pressure from right, with 2 AI defenders not able to stop him, Amitava said "jiyoo nabi!! Tui bharoter maradona"..it was loud..
towards the side were nabi was dribbling these guys..net result..nabi immediately oder ekjon er paye ball ta joma diye dilo."