Mohun Bagan beat Air India 2-1 to reach semi finals of Federation Cup. Lalkamal and Marcos scored the goals for Mohun Bagan. In semi finals, Mohun Bagan will play against East Bengal on December 18th, the match will be played at 6:30 pm.

Mohun Bagan played like champions in 2nd half of the match and beat Air India 2-1 to reach semi finals of Federation Cup. After today’s match goal difference of Mohun Bagan and Vasco was same but Mohun Bagan qualified having scored more goals (4) than Vasco (2). There was a half an hour delay for the match to start as Air India reached the stadium just 15 minutes before start of match due to traffic congestion.

In 2nd minute itself Tulunga gave a pass to Barreto who centered from right side that was a little long and went to Ishfaq in left side from whose pass Mohanraj floated a cross into the box which Baichung headed but it went over cross bar. Thereafter it was Air India who more or less dominated the first half. Mohun Bagan mainly relied on long ball from midfield towards Baichung and Barreto in first half and those were easily cleared by Air India defence. Air India on the other hand with their speed caused problems for Bagan defence. Air India got many throw-ins from which Uttam Singh took long throws which Mariners found difficult to handle. From one such long throw, Sangram completely misjudged the ball and luckily for Mohun Bagan the ball went straight to their defender who cleared the ball for safety. In 26th minute, Air India went ahead. Michael Tayo gave the ball to Surojit Roy at half line and he ran with the ball past Mohanraj and gave it to Soccor Velho inside box who cut the ball in past Vashan and took a right footer than found back of the net, Sangram dived but could not save the goal. In 32nd minute, Samson took a direct free kick which came off post, a lucky save indeed for Mariners. Most of the Air India’s attacks were via Bagan’s left side. To repair damage, Kareem changed the position of Tulunga and Ishfaq and Mariners immediately got two chances. Baichung back headed a ball for Tulunga, who took a swinging right footed volley that went over bar post. In the next minute, from a Habibur cross, Baichung tried a bicycle kick but was timely intercepted by Air India defence.

In 2nd half, Kareem brought in Lalkamal in place of Tulunga and this move changed the complexion of the game and we saw a different Mohun Bagan in 2nd half and they started playing with short passes and played the ball mostly in ground and not long balls. In 51st minute, Lalkamal gave a pass to Baichung inside box who turned nicely and took a shot that Arup Debnath got his fingers to it and the ball hit post. Within 2 minutes, Mariners scored the equalizing goal. Marcos gave a pass to Lalkamal in front of penalty box and the latter took a shot from almost 24 yards out that beat Arup and bounced and went inside goal. Mohun Bagan were combining brilliantly at this moment. Barreto missed a easy chance when from a Lalkamal’s center, Barreto nicely chested down the ball but his left footed shot went away. In 60th minute, Napoleon Singh committed a foul on Barreto on top of the box. Marcos Perreira did bend it like Beckham like last match but this time it did not hit post but found back of the net. Marcos had a poor first half but in second half he came back strongly and controlled the midfield. Air India coach then went to 3-5-2 formation by bringing on Kailash and Subhash Singh. They launched a series of attacks causing danger time and again in the Bagan defence, but seasoned campaigner Dipak Mandal put up a fine show to thwart the raids. Air India got a spot kick when Vashan handled the ball in 74th minute. Ravinder scored but referee disallowed the goal and asked to take the penalty again as few Air India players had moved inside the box before the penalty was even taken. Ravinder took the spot kick again but this time Sangram made a brilliant diving save. Just before end of match, Mohun Bagan missed two chances to score. First time Baichung completely miscued a shot from an advantageous position inside box and second time Baichung took a shot from edge of the box which Arup saved and from return ball Barreto headed the ball that hit the post and went out, a lucky escape for Air India again. Though Barreto and Baichung missed few easy chances, but their dedication and the extra effort shown today is commendable and worth a special mention. Mohun Bagan will play against East Bengal in 2nd semi finals at 6.30 pm on December 18th while in the first semi on that same day, Churchill will meet Dempo at 3.15 pm.

TEAM: Sangram, Mohanraj, Dipak, Vashan, Habibur, Ishfaq (James Singh Jr. 90), Marcos, Masih, Tulunga (Lalkamal 46), Baichung (James Singh Jr. 92), Barreto.

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