6 Oct 2001, Calcutta: The result was no bolt-from-the-blue stuff. East Bengal dominated all of the first half and scored, Mohun Bagan came back in the second half and equalised, but the Bagan’s defensive weakness let the initiative through as East Bengal rode Jo Paul Ancheri’s double strike to the 107th IFA Shield final, Jose Ramirez Barreto’s reverse strike notwithstanding.
In the midst, there were scrappy events, Chandan Das of East Bengal being marched out for a dash on Barreto and the latter, too, for retaliating. By then, though, the issue had been settled, with the red-gold jerseyed brigade qualifying to play Palmeiras of Brazil in the final.
Early signs were not good for Mohun Bagan. Barreto was, also as expected, policed, mostly by Jackson Egygpong, but Suley Musah too put in his bit in the issue. That was one reason why he wasn’t mobile enough today, leaving the East Bengal right flank somewhat empty. This, though, was made up by the left flank and the middle working overtime, stretching the weak Bagan defence taut.
In the 11th minute, Dipankar Roy moved up the left and passed Amauri da Silva who generally presents an insipid challenge. Goalkeeper Bivash Ghosh was also up, but Roy’s pass reached Ancheri who drew it to the edge and managed a fine tap from acute angle, but the near upright came in the way.
The defensive weaknesses apart, the row of East Bengal offensives were to an extent also because of the lack of sting in the Bagan offensive. The absence of Abdulateef Seriki (who served a one-match match suspension) was sorely felt. His presence used to take a good deal of load off the Bagan defenders’ backs — in other words, it was a good nook to hide their deficiencies. The big culprit was, of course, Amauri.
In the 24th minute Omolaja’s pass reached Dipankar to the left of the box. Dipankar’s centre, quite like on the earlier occasion, was snapped up by Ancheri as Amauri advanced. The Brazilian stood clay-footed, and even collapsed in an Ancheri feint. That was easier for Ancheri than even Bivash, who was under the bar, but failed to react as the East Bengal striker’s left-footed grounder went in past the far post.
The next setback for Bagan was when Basudeb Mondal had to be pulled out by coach Subrata Bhattachaya. Basudeb, the playmaker, had a knee injury that needed attention. By then the East Bengal domination was clear. The attacks came fast and thick, and there were hardly any Bagan offensives except one in the 40th minute when R.C. Prakash failed to get the better of the still mushy surface at the East Bengal goalmouth and in an attempt to pass to a teammate, lost control and with it a great opportunity.
Bagan regrouped and came right back in the second half. Perhaps realising that the East Bengal domination was mostly in the head, they shook off the effect and in the fourth minute Prakash was again in striking distance. Goalkeeper Hemanta Dora was out of charge and it was a close affair, but Dipak Mondal appeared from nowhere to effect a goalline save. Isiaka Awoyemi missed one at the other end.
By then the match had become scrappy, and tempers were rising as a couple of bookings ensued. Bagan earned a flag-kick in the 20th minute of the second session and Rennedy’s shot reached Prakash at the goalmouth. Prakash’s deflection was patted back by Dora, but it was tardy and Barreto shot in from close. That was Barreto’s fifth goal in this championship.
Five minutes later East Bengal threw an offensive back as the Bagan defence thickened. Isiaka entered the box and following two more quick relays the ball reached Ancheri, who was standing with his back to the goal. Ancheri trapped well, made a half-turn and shot home an eloquent left-footer.
That was the end of Mohun Bagan, except that in the 87th minute the two players were marched out. It was a just decision, and none protested.
The day ended with a 35-yard volley by Mohun Bagan’s Dulal Biswas slipping off the crosspiece.
Mohun Bagan, of course, get a chance to redeem some pride Wednesday when the Calcutta League’s Super Division championship leg Derby comes off.
EAST BENGAL: Hemanta Dora, Suley Musah, Jackson Egygpong, Dipak Mondal, Falguni Dutta, Isiaka Awoyemi, Tushar Rakshit (Chandan Das, 62), Anit Ghosh, Dipankar Roy (Bijen Singh, 74), Omolaja Olalekan (I.M. Vijayan, inury time), Jo Paul Ancheri.
MOHUN BAGAN: Bivash Ghosh, Dulal Biswas, Amauri da Silva, Hussain Mustafi, Rishi Kapoor, R.P. Singh (Sumit Sengupta, 82), Basudeb Mondal (Bungo Singh, 74), Jose Ramirez Barreto, Debjit Ghosh (Amar Ganguly, 46), Renedy Singh, R.C. Prakash.
Referee: M.S. Balu (Karnataka)