The 25-year-old scored one goal and assisted another in the high-voltage game as his side did the double over their arch-rivals.
East Bengal did the double over rivals Mohun Bagan in the I-League for the first time in 15 years, defeating the Mariners 2-0 at the Salt Lake Stadium on Sunday. Strikes from Jamie Colado and Jobby Justin in either half sealed the deal for the Red and Gold Brigade, who absorbed pressure from the attack-minded Mariners very well. This victory puts them five points behind Chennai City with one game in hand, heating up the I-League title race once again.
Here are our talking points for the game:
5. Did Mohun Bagan’s front two let them down?
It seems like Mohun Bagan have turned into a one-man team right now. Sony Norde, like he always does, was on the end of all the big chances for the Mariners in the game. He created a golden opportunity for Dipanda Dicka in the first half, one which last season’s Golden Boot winner should’ve done better with.
Both Dicka and Henry Kisekka were bullied in the final third, being unable to get past the rock-solid defence of East Bengal. Their poor distribution and lack of creativity in the final third didn’t help them at all. While Norde did pretty well to create chances, the Mariners were let down by disappointing work from their front two once again.
4. Does Jobby Justin’s performance establish him as a key big-game player?
Having scored eight goals so far this seaqson, Justin has proved himself as a lethal striker in the I-League. However, his inspiring performance against Bagan again showed how good he is on the big stage. Justin almost earned a penalty when his unpredictable pace nearly caught Shilton Paul off-guard, after a defensive error from Abhishek Ambekar.
He kept Kingsley Obumneme on his toes and outwitted the defender, using his pace to steal the ball from him and sailing free on goal, before proving his creative ability by cleverly finding Santos for the goal. Jobby continued his brilliance in the second half, having a shot saved before he leapt highest in the 76th minute to put the game to bed. A brilliant performance from the striker further consolidated him as a fan-favourite and boosted his chances of making the national team.
3. Was East Bengal’s defensive prowess the reason for their victory?
East Bengal were surprised by the attacking mindset displayed by Khalid Jamil’s Mohun Bagan, as it was the Mariners who dominated more of the possession. However, it was something they had prepared for, as both Borja Gomez and Johnny Acosta were brilliant at the heart of their defence. Clearing away every dangerous ball, making crucial tackles and properly dominating over the physical duo of Dicka and Kisekka, the Spanish defenders combined wit and power to keep things clean.
They were helped by solid work from full-backs Lalramchullova and Kamalpreet Singh, who proved their capabilities with a promising showing. East Bengal attained their second clean-sheet in a row and this was arguably the best performance from their back-four so far this season.
2. Were Mohun Bagan lacking in midfield?
The Mariners were rocked by the injury suffered by Yuta Kinowaki in training, meaning they started the game with only one natural midfielder. Darren Caldeira tried his best to use his physical prowess to dilute East Bengal’s midfield, but his lack of composure and discipline often resulted in dangerous counter-attacks.
The Mariners put too many attack-minded men forward and didn’t have enough steel in midfield. It eventually cost them, as efficient counter-attacks and work from East Bengal’s superior midfielders didn’t allow Bagan to get a hold of the game. Maybe playing Mehtab Hossain could’ve brought more assuredness to the Mariners and helped create better chances from set-pieces as well.
1. Did questionable refereeing hinder the derby?
When it comes to an intense match like the Kolkata Derby, refereeing can be particularly difficult. In this match, tempers were at an all-time high and Ramaswamy Coimbatore had a tough evening making the right decisions. Things got especially hurried in the second half, when Jamie Santos’ shove on Dicka in the box was ignored by the referee.
Bagan’s equalizer, later on, was also ruled out due to offside, when Caldeira had allegedly been ahead of the final defender. A few other questionable yellow cards and lack of bookings frustrated the Mohun Bagan players even more, while also angering the men on the sidelines. While Coimbatore tried his best to ensure a clean derby, he could’ve done better when it came to certain decisions.