Saturday, 5 October 2013

Mohun Bagan 1-2 East Bengal : Calcutta Football League 1st Leg 2002-03

20 Aug 2002, Calcutta: Red and gold were very much the dominant colours at the floodlit Salt Lake Stadium as a boisterous 70,000-odd watched East Bengal score a 2-1 win over Mohun Bagan in Tuesday evening’s Super Division derby.
Dominating proceedings right from the start before losing their way somewhat for a short spell after the breather, East Bengal took the lead through Dipankar Roy in the 10th minute. Mohun Bagan were fast fading under the steady pressure, but got a lifeline in the 32nd minute when Basudeb Mondal made things even against the run of play. Their joy didn’t last the distance as Dipankar’s substitute S. Malsawmtluanga capped his team’s decent performance with a 74th-minute winner.
East Bengal, with 16 points from six matches, now head the table alongside Mohammedan Sporting. Mohun Bagan, after crashing to their second defeat in six games, stay on 12.
East Bengal’s five-man midfield gained early ascendancy with Chandan Das playing the anchor. They kept probing mostly down the flanks and moved up enough men inside the striking zone to push Mohun Bagan into the defensive. With the goalkeeper struggling with collections and deep defenders not oozing confidence, East Bengal created several openings and accuracy in their finishing could have made things embarrassing for Mohun Bagan.
Mohun Bagan were trying out a new defensive combination with George Ekeh replacing Yakubu as central defender and barring a lapse in concentration which led to the East Bengal winner, the newcomer had a good first match.
However, the vigil was far too inadequate elsewhere and the feeble midfield was clearly lacking a navigator. Basudeb tried to get things going but barring him and Dulal Biswas to an extent, there was hardly any contribution from the other medios.
Jose Ramirez Barreto, whose skill and determination bailed Mohun Bagan out of trouble on numerous occasions in the last three seasons, was a shadow of his usual self. Apart from a few classy pushes and nudges, one of which set up the equaliser, the Brazilian was kept quiet by Subhashish Roy Chowdhury.
With Chandan operating down the middle, Alvito D’Cunha and Dipankar, pushed closer to the sides, tried to make things happen instead of waiting for them. Strikers Mike Okoro and S. Kulothungan were always lurking around the box, which kept the Mohun Bagan defence from breathing easy.
Mohun Bagan goalkeeper Amit Sinha Roy was struggling to grip the ball and after getting away with a punch at the ball which almost bounced in off Okoro’s shoulder in the sixth minute, paid the price soon after.
Amit chose to fist Chandan’s flag-kick from the right and the ball went to Alvito who was waiting free near the tip of the box. The Goan hammered a left-footer, which came off the legs of the defenders crowding the goalmouth, but Dipankar slotted the rebound in from close.
It took Mohun Bagan 23 minutes to take the first shot at goal and it was a low right-footer from a distance that was collected well by goalkeeper Sandip Nandy. They got the equaliser when East Bengal skipper Anit Ghosh lost the ball near the rival box. Kajal Bhattacharya gave it to Basudeb who quickly saw that the entire East Bengal midfield had moved up and released Barreto down the right with a measured pass. Barreto dragged it wide, taking away two defenders and played it back inside the box for Basudeb who finished with a smart first-time right-footer.
Mohun Bagan were looking better in the second half but Ekeh’s only error in the match proved decisive. Shankarlal Chakraborty’s curling cross landed in front of the defender who failed to make contact while trying to whip it out.
Okoro gleefully took the ball, cut away towards the side and sent a measured cross for Malsawmtluanga who obliged with a header. The 20-year-old from Aizawl, nicknamed Mama, got a golden chance to stretch the lead but banged a right-footer against the upright after being put through by Okoro.


East Bengal: Sandip Nandy; M. Suresh, Anit Ghosh, Subhashish Roy Chowdhury; Shankarlal Chakraborty, Alvito D’Cunha, Chandan Das, Dipankar Roy (S. Malsawmtluanga, 64), Surya Bikash Chakraborty; K. Kulohtungan (Subhash Chakraborty, 79), Mike Okoro.
Mohun Bagan: Amit Sinha Roy; Satyabrata Bhowmick (Tarif Ahmed, 46; Amar Ganguly, 71), George Ekeh, Kajal Bhattacharya; Santosh Singh, Dulal Biswas, Basudeb Mondal, Umesh Sharma (Sumit Sengupta, 87), Lolendro Singh; Sheikh Sanjib, Jose Ramirez Barreto.
Referee: Subrata Sarkar.

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