Mohun Bagan taste CFL triumph after eight-year drought
Written by: Atrayo Bhattacharya
Henry Kisekka's brace ensured the Mariners to complete their title dream.
Mohun Bagan down Calcutta Customs 2-0 at the Mohun Bagan ground in their deciding Calcutta Football League fixture. With the win the Green and Maroons registered their first Calcutta Football League triumph after eight long years.
Customs who are lagging in mid-table were unbeaten in the league till now. Mohun Bagan coach Shankarlal Chakraborty started with the same lineup in search of a historic win at home. The Mohun Bagan ground was packed to the rafters as the supporters were in a joyous mood to experience history, the celebrations were in full swing throughout the match as they performed pyros, burst firecrackers and also the much-lauded flashlight show.
Mohun Bagan started the match with their known intent as the Mariners scored the opener against the run of play. Arijit Bagui's sublime delivery for Henry Kisekka at the fourth minute was comfortably controlled by the Ugandan and finally completing the move with his thumping effort which deceived the Calcutta Customs keeper, Suvam Sen giving Mohun Bagan an early lead.
Once the floodgates were open, Mohun Bagan maintained the pressure by moving forward in a search for more goals. Shankarlal Chakraborty's side controlled the game for the most of the first half, they could have increased the lead in the 12th minute, when Abhishek Ambekar's inviting low cross from the left flank just needed a touch from Dipanda Dicka. The Cameroonian forward was surrounded by defenders though he did manage to free himself but his strike from almost point blank range went sailing over the bar.
Moments later Dicka's strike partner Henry joined him as he also missed an absolute sitter. The Ugandan had ample amount of in the box to control the ball and slotted it in the back of the net. But he was off balance as the shot went wide from the target.
Customs responded well against the run of play as foreign forward Eze Stanley showed a glimpse of his individual brilliance, as the Nigerian marauded past the Mohun Bagan midfield and defence taking on several players with sheer speed. But Stanley's exceptional movement came to nothing as young custodian Shankar Roy stood tall to keep his clean sheet intact.
The Mariners from then had total control of the match as they kept a high defensive line and dominated possession. The high defensive line sometimes raised a few eyebrows as when Customs tried to break on the counter. But apart from that one chance from Stanley the away side hardly had any say in the first half.
The Mariners came up with the insurance goal right at the stroke of half-time, when Dicka capitalised a missed pass from defender Samuel Kane as the Cameroonian's through pass freed teammate Henry in the opposition final third. The Ugandan made no mistake to increase the lead and scoring his 6th goal in his debut CFL season.
The second half was a rather cagey affair as Customs also enjoyed their fair share of possession and chances. It was a very dim start to second half and the first golden chance Mohun Bagan was in the 59th minute when Arijit Bagui lost his marker and sailed a pinpoint cross in the box. Substitute Azharuddin Mallick managed to get on the end of the delivery but only to be denied by the woodwork. Dicka had a golden opportunity to increase the lead from the rebound but it seemed like the Cameroonian has left his shooting boots at home.
Customs had a golden chance to reduce the deficit right in the 65th minute when Rajon Barman's looping header almost caught goalkeeper Shankar out of position. But the youngster came up with a mesmerising reflex save to deny the forward. The shot on rebound was a disappointing one. Shankar has definitely repaid the trust shown by Shankarlal Chakraborty as the Mohun Bagan coach showed the audacity to bench club captain Shilton Paul. Shankar seemed very confident with his handling and decision making and is someone to watch out for in the upcoming I-League.
Mohun Bagan stepped their foot off the gas in the remainder of the match as the league win was inevitable in the dying minutes. The Mariners will play their final match against Mohammedan Sporting on 18th September in a game where only pride will be at stake.
Published: Thu Sep 13, 2018 12:42 PM IST