Mohun Bagan edge George Telegraph, go back on top of CFL table
Written by: Uttiyo Sarkar
A late winner from Dipanda Dicka helped the Mariners to a win.
Mohun Bagan went back to the top of the Calcutta Football League (CFL) as they edged George Telegraph 1-0 at the Mohun Bagan ground on Sunday. A solitary goal from Aser Dipanda Dicka helped them earn three vital points, which puts them in a comfortable position as they look to regain the CFL title after an eight-year drought.
It was a crucial match for the Mariners, who had the opportunity to take an extensive lead at the top of the CFL after watching arch-rivals East Bengal drop points against Calcutta Customs. The hosts started with the mouth-watering duo of Henry Kisekka and Aser Dipanda Dicka for the first time, while Sankar Roy got a place to shine in the expense of captain Shilton Paul. Bagan began the game brightly and received a free-kick just outside the box in the seventh minute, which struck the post and went out.
Arijit Bagui looked dangerous in his new-found right-wing role and in the 13th minute, he linked well with Dicka before sending in a terrific ball in the middle to Henry, whose attempt was expertly cleared by George Telegraph. The hosts found it difficult to break the opponent's defense, but Shilton D’Silva found some space in the 18th minute before letting rip a powerful shot which was barely parried away by keeper Laltu Mondal.
Bagan were threatening through the wings and in the 40th minute, another terrific cross from Sourav Das was scuffled by Mondal but was cleared out of danger by Mohan Sarkar before the hosts could capitalize on it. The Mariners had a shout for a penalty in the 42nd minute when Dicka brought down by a George Telegraph defender, but referee waved play on despite the striker’s appeal for a spot-kick. Bagan looked toothless in attack during the first half and were in desperate need of some inspiration on the attacking front.
But the introduction of super-sub Mehtab Hossain seemed to instill some much-needed energy into Bagan’s attack initially, as the hosts started the second half brightly, when Sourav Das wiggled past a few defenders before taking a shot which blazed over the post. Mehtab showed his set-piece brilliant three minutes later, when his free-kick was hit with a powerful header from Kingsley, which rocketed into the stands. Despite the chances, The Mariners were poor in finishing as Dicka got another glorious chance to score in the 58th minute, but saw his shot from a few yards out being blocked by a defender.
Just when it looked like the game might be heading towards a dreaded goal-less draw, a piece of magic from substitute Tirthankar Sarkar changed the face of the game. Sarkar’s amazing cross from the right was headed in powerfully by Dipanda Dicka to put the Mariners ahead in the 73rd minute. George Telegraph were extremely underwhelming on the attack and failed to produce any threatening chance to put pressure on the Mariners. They created a decent chance in the 82nd minute when striker Stephen Harry’s shot was initially fumbled by Roy, but the Bagan custodian eventually held onto it.
George Telegraph created their biggest chance in the 86th minute when a free-kick from experienced candidate Subha Kumar forced two fantastic saves from Sankar Roy. The first powerful header from Echezona Anyichie was expertly parried away by Roy, but the corresponding header from Reo Nakamura, which looked destined for a goal, was also tipped over by Roy who single-handedly kept his side ahead and earned the man of the match award for his heroics.
That late scare was the last chance the visitors could create, as the Mariners recorded an important win which puts them on the top of the CFL table with a five-point lead over title rivals East Bengal.
Published: Sun Aug 12, 2018 07:57 PM IST