Yakubu scored twice as Prayag came from behind twice to beat Mohun Bagan 3-2 in the 7th round of iLeague. Bagan took the lead twice in the game – first in the 24th minute when Snehasish scored and later in the 47th minute when Odafa scored. However , Sankar Oraon (42′) and Yakubu (P- 54′ and 56′) scored for Prayag to ensure they remain unbeaten in the iLeague. This was the second defeat for Bagan – and once again Bagan suffered from the absence of a match fit central midfielder.
Bagan first XI did not have an attacking central midfielder – rather Bagan TD and coach had to depend upon the three strikers. However, in the 15th minute Gouranga replaced the only central midfielder- Pradeep. Thus Bagan at that time had 4 defenders, one left half , two genuine right halves and three strikers. However Snehasish scored from a good move of Surkumar in the 24th minute. Sur gave a cross to Gouranga and Gouranga centred it to Snehasish who made no mistake (1-0). By that time Sangram and Kingshuk saved at least three chances – one of them was a goal line save by Kingshuk.
Prayag kept on attacking and the game was mostly into Bagan’s defensive third for the rest of the first half. At times Bagan was going for counter attacks. But with no genuine central midfielder – Bagan’s defenders started hitting long balls for Odafa , Sunil and Ashim.
Prayag started operating from the central midfield and right half. In the 42nd minute Sankar crossed a ball for Yakubu – whose header hit the post and rebounded. Joshimar made no mistake in converting the same into a goal(1-1)
In the 44th minute Yakubu got another chance but failed to convert the same.
After the lemon break Gouranga crossed from right for Sunil. Sunil’s shot was on target – but got deflected from a Prayag defender and went to Odafa. Odafa converted the same into a goal(2-1)
For next 8 minutes Bagan kept pressure on Prayag defense. However, from a counter attack in the 54th minute the ball hit Kingshuk in Bagan box and referee Md. Kamil awarded a penalty for Prayag. Yakubu took the shot – Sangram failed to save it (2-2)
Prayag kept on pressing Bagan defense and in the 56th minute earned a corner. Yakubu converted that into a goal (2-3)
In the 75th minute the TD had to take Odafa out – and put in Souvik – too late perhaps.
Immediately Prayag put in Subhash by taking Sankar out. Bagan, failing to capture the central midfield, had another replacement in striker Jagtar for Gouranga.
But these changes were in vain and Prayag did well to defend their lead. The match ended in the 94th minute with Prayag earning 3 points from this game.
Certain questions will perhaps haunt the TD –
a) Had Pradeep been unfit – why didn’t he rely on Murali instead?
b) With absence of Barreto and Jewel why didn’t he field in a genuine central attacking midfielder from the beginning of the game – Manish or Souvik should have been into the team from the beginning instead.
c) Why did he rely on injured Odafa till the 75th minute – particularly when there was no movement in the midfield?
Team : Sangram, Dhanarajan, Zeleny, Kingshuk, Surkumar, Snehasish, Pradeep(Gouranga 15′(Jagtar 80′)) Nabi, Odafa(Souvik 75′) , Ashim, Sunil.
Goals : Snehasish , Odafa
Yellow Card : Kingshuk
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