The Mariners will now face Real Kashmir in the semi-finals of the tournament on Wednesday.
Mohun Bagan edged past Indian Navy 1-0 in a fiercely contested Durand Cup match at the Salt Lake Stadium on Saturday evening.
The game had several chances, but both sides failed to take their opportunities until a second half penalty from Francisco Gonzalez made all the difference. The Mariners have already qualified for the semis and will face Real Kashmir in the last four next Wednesday.
5. Can Subha Ghosh add the much-needed panache in attack for Mohun Bagan?
The Bagan youth academy star, Subha Ghosh was given a start by Kibu Vicuna and the young forward did not disappoint his Spanish coach. Subha is a very versatile forward and playing off VP Suhair, he latched on to the open spaces created by the former Gokulam Kerala man. Subha’s relentless work-ethic and a great burst of acceleration make him an interesting prospect in attack for the Mariners.
The youngster can play as a second striker and can also play on either flank. Hence, he allows more dynamism in attack for Vicuna. However, he has to be more clinical in front of goal as he squandered multiple chances to break the deadlock.
4. Are the Indian Navy over-dependent on Britto PM to score goals?
The Goa-born forward has been the main attacking weapon for Abhilash Vasantha’s side. The Indian Navy look to be over-dependent on the former Mohun Bagan man. Britto also has been in fine form scoring two stunners in their defeat against Mohammedan Sporting. But, the 26-year old did not get enough support from the other players in the attacking third.
Britto has had a great Durand Cup scoring twice and also assisting once, having a role in all the goals scored by the Navy in the tournament.
3. Was Francisco Gonzalez the main point of difference between the two sides?
Bagan only fielded, Fran Gonzalez from their foreigners and except him, it was an all-Indian affair. However, Gonzalez was the main man in midfield for the Mariners. He controlled the tempo of play from the heart of the field. The Green and Maroons did not have the services of Joseba Beitia, who is out with an ankle injury. But, the 30-year old shouldered the responsibilitity of creating chances, breaking up play and retrieving possession back for his side.
Gonzalez looked calm and composed on the ball for Mohun Bagan and also made no mistake in scoring from the spot. He will hope to keep up this performance as his compatriot, Beitia is still a doubt for the semi-finals.
2. Did the Indian Navy miss a proper striker upfront to support PBritto PM?
The Goa-born forward is known to play on the flanks and has been brilliant throughout the tournament for the Indian Navy. But, Vasantha’s men lacked a proper target man who can cause problems for opposition defenders.
Britto along with Sarbhjit Singh and Harikrishna Au was majorly involved in the build-up play and chances that came their way. But, an out and out target man would have allowed for a more dynamic approach overall.
1. Can Imran Khan be the midfield lynchpin for the Mariners inthe absence of Beitia?
Beitia was unavailable due to his ankle injury and the Spaniard is doubtful even for their semi-final clash against Real Kashmir. Hence, Imran Khan can be the man in midfield on whom Vicuna has shown a lot of trust. Imran is primarily a left winger, but his intricate passing and dribbling abilities have allowed him to play in a more central role.
Imran had a good understanding throughout the game with players like SK Faiaz, Gonzalez and Nongdamba Naorem, as he orchestrated a lot of build-ups and cracked open the Navy defence time and again. Hence, in Beitia’s absence, Khan needs to bring out his best performance in the knockout stages for Bagan.