The Red and Gold’s title bid suffered another setback while the Mariners have a springboard to kick-start their season.
Mohun Bagan completed the double over East Bengal by defeating them 2-0 at the Salt Lake Stadium to spice up the I-League title race. It was a dominant display from the Mariners who absolutely restricted East Bengal from playing their natural game and should’ve scored at least 3-4 more goals on the day.
It was surprising for many to see this kind of domination by the Mariners knowing their recent form, so the relief for Bagan coach Sankalal Chakraborty was quite obvious when he spoke to the press after his side’s win. He was asked about whether he thought his side deserved to win by at least half a dozen goals, to which he replied, “Winning by that big a margin isn’t much of a factor. We needed to win the match to stay in the hunt for the championship, which we did”.
Chakraborty gave East Bengal the tag of favourites ahead of the match. So, he was asked about what he thought about them underperforming to which he answered: “No, they played really well. In fact, somehow we played better than them!”
He was then quizzed on whether he relished the challenge of working with a new squad this season/. “When a batch of new players come, a few players are changed. So we then strategize about how to take them to a good place. Even without Sony (Norde), a team has been formed underneath that. Something which nobody realized. Sony is a special player for us and we dedicated this victory to him”.
The Mohun Bagan gaffer was asked about what triggered the sudden turnaround in the style of football for the Mariners. “I have seen that whenever we win a game, we play really, really well. We dominated the last 45 minutes of the last match, but nobody spoke about it because we lost the game. The team is playing well, the goals are coming and being missed but we scored today and won,” he explained.
Chakraborty also credited Aser Dipanda Dicka’s goal as the turning point of the match and agreed that his reputation as a coach took a hike due to this win.
Meanwhile, Hero of the match, Dipanda Dicka said that he will like to dedicate his goals and the victory to missing star Norde. The Haitian will obviously leave the club and considering whatever the 28-year old has done , he deserves every bit of respect.
It has been a tough campaign for Dicka and questions were raised on his form and some rumours even claimed that he will be the next player to follow Ansumana Kromah out of the exit door. So, when he was asked how he changed his mindset in such a high pressure match the striker said, “After the last game I had a meeting with the team and I was trying my best to get on the scoresheet. I was angry at myself and I always wanted to help my team win more matches and today it happened.”
Dicka even credited Akram’s presence for his goals as he said that they had good communication even though it was the latter’s first match. Mohun Bagan coach, Shankarlal claimed that the remaining matches are no less than the derby to them and they have to win all of those matches to remain in the title race. So, keeping that point in mind this win will definitely be a confidence booster for the Mariners.
When East Bengal coach Khalid Jamil was asked about the things that went wrong for his team he said that he takes full responsibility for the loss and even considers this result to be his mistake. He also admitted that he took several decisions and made some changes and all of those decisions backfired
On being questioned about the future matches Jamil said, “We will look forward to the coming matches, as every match is crucial now. We hope that we play a lot better than today and hopefully we get good results. We will give a better fight. The players are not in good state right now, but we need to buckle up if we want to stay in the title race.”
The Red and Gold gaffer also mentioned that the result was a outcome of his failure to understand the players. Jamil also claimed that it was wrong on his part to be influenced by “others” to play two strikers only to backtrack on the statement almost immediately.
The tactician confirmed that star midfielder Mahmoud Al Amnah already had an injury and today it got aggravated.