Saturday, 15 June 2013

East Bengal 3-5 Mohun Bagan : I-League 2009-10 1st Leg

25.10.2009, Calcutta: For those who vouch that facts, at times, can be stranger than fiction, Sunday could be deemed as a day when facts propelled to such heights that even fiction, for sure, would not dare to compete with them.
It was a battle between two beleaguered teams, desperate for three points to bolster their dwindling fortunes in the I-League.
Ninety minutes of flip-flop drama saw Mohun Bagan leaving the pitch with a spring in their strides, having vanquished archrivals 5-3, which also relieved them of a 34-year-old burden — a 0-5 humiliation at the hands of East Bengal.
It was a tale of two stars — Jose Ramirez Barreto shone through his presence while Bhaichung Bhutia’s absence inflicted a pitch-black darkness on his team.
Barreto, in his 56-minute stay on the pitch Sunday, did the spadework for Bagan’s victory, scheming perfect moves for the Edeh Chidis. Bhaichung, on the other hand, was conspicuous by his absence. Yusif Yakubu missed him throughout.
East Bengal began well, taking the lead in the ninth minute when Nirmal Chetri headed in from a Rennedy Singh corner, with the Bagan defence looking on like bystanders. With many expecting a demoralised red and gold brigade in the absence of Bhaichung, the goal came as a pleasant surprise.
But Edeh Chidi, who had promised after missing goals galore in Bagan’s last CFL match that he “kept the goals in his pockets” for the derby, had other plans. In the 17th minute, right back Surkumar Singh, after gaining possession near the centre circle, went past a couple of rival defenders with a brilliant solo run, cut into the box and placed the ball for Chidi, who finished it off with clinical perfection.
With the score at 1-1, what followed was a crazy amalgamation of pathetic defending, inept goalkeeping and, not to forget, opportunistic attacking.
Karim Bencharifa’s gamble with rookie Manish Mathani paid off, when in the 22nd minute, his low pile-driver off a failed East Bengal clearance went in, thanks to an Abhra Mondal bungle. Barreto’s brilliant and measured centre in the 33rd minute found Chidi inside the box, who obliged with a strong header to score Bagan’s third goal.
If Abhra was the bungling-in-charge of the East Bengal goal, young Shilton Paul was on a similar duty, letting in a soft goal in the 34th minute, when he failed to stop a feeble Yakubu push. Subhas Bhowmick’s wards restored parity just before half-time, when a curling Rennedy free-kick kissed Yakubu’s head before landing in Bagan net.
With the score 3-3 at the halfway mark, Chidi decided to create history, in style. He added two more in the 46th and the 65th minute to become a legend in Indian football.
And talking about the negatives in the match… Who cares!
Edeh Chidi is back to the ‘four’ and how! Till the other day he was being ridiculed for his profligacy but on Sunday he was basking in glory.
The Salt Lake Stadium was reverberating with his name, the fans chanting “Chidi Chidi”. And why not? Four goals against East Bengal is no joke and the Nigerian had done just that. In the Bagan dressing room, Chidi was the cynosure. There was the usual jostling to get a vantage point but Chidi was not complaining. Questions came thick and fast and the man of the moment was answering them all.
“This is the best match of my career. For the first time in my life I have scored four goals and that too against East Bengal in a match of this stature,” Chidi said. “I was never under pressure for not getting goals. I knew I will get them and I will get them today.”
Chidi confessed he was not aware of the three-decade old five-goal humiliation and the history that surrounded it. “I did not know. But now I think I have made history,” he said laughing.
Chidi rated his first goal as the best of the four. “That was the pick of the lot. That gave the confidence and, after that, I never looked back. Even at half-time when the score was 3-3 we knew we would do it. I told (Jose Ramirez) Barreto about that and he also said Bagan would win.
“When I scored my third I knew the fourth one also was coming. It’s amazing but believe me I had a feeling it was my day and nothing could go wrong.”
Dedicating this win to his wife (Adoco) and mother (Justine) — they are in town and were watching the match on television — “millions of fans, my teammates and of course coach (Karim Bencharifa)”.
“Coach was very supportive. Even when I was not getting the goals he was there with me. Giving me the strength to work harder. And look, today I am the hero.”
True, four goals in a match against East Bengal doesn’t happen too often. He is the first one in fact. And surely 34 years down the line if someone comes and equals this feat, Chidi will be asked to write a looking back copy. And then if he says those were the best days of my life none will complain.
It seemed Subhas Bhowmick had been hit by a tsunami. As if losing a derby wasn’t enough, his team, East Bengal, had conceded five goals against Mohun Bagan. And, after keeping the media waiting for more than an hour on Sunday, at the Salt Lake Stadium, when Bhowmick turned up all he could mumble was “It’s a big setback. I should quit.”
East Bengal sources said the club won’t sack Bhowmick. “But then if he puts in his papers we will definitely accept that,” club sources said late on Sunday.
Mohun Bagan: Shilton Paul (Sangram Mukherjee, 46th), Surkumar Singh, Rakesh Masih, Sagram Mandi, N. Mohanraj, L. James Singh, Marcos Perreira, Manish Mathani, Snehasish Chakraborty (Tomba Singh, 92nd), Jose Barreto (Ishfaq Ahmed, 57th), Edeh Chidi.
East Bengal: Abhra Mondal, Nirmal Chetri, Mehrajuddin Wadoo, Govin Singh, Syed Rahim Nabi, Mehtab Hossain, Riston Rodrigues (Harmanjot Singh Khabra, 76th), Mitrovich Srecko (Alvito D’Cunha, 68th), Rennedy Singh (Subhas Singh, 61st), Abel Hammond, Yusif Yakubu.
Referee: Benjamin Silva.
MoM: Edeh Chidi.

Here are the match videos :

Source :