The Mariners’ latest defeat brought about the resignation of head coach Shankarlal Chakraborty.

Real Kashmir FC got the better of their opponents Mohun Bagan in a crucial I-league clash at the Salt Lake Stadium. Mason Robertson came up with a surprise brace as the Snow Leopards kept their impressive away record intact. Sony Norde had his moment of brilliance with a sublime free-kick goal in the first half, but in the end, it was way too much for the Mariners.

5. Real Kashmir’s physicality a thorn in the flesh for Mohun Bagan defence?

Physicality is an attribute which is very synonymous to Real Kashmir. The Snow Leopards play an extremely abrasive brand of football and do not allow their opponents to settle into the game. Players like Bazie Armand, Mason Robertson, Loveday Enyinnaya got the better of their counterparts with ease. The players were instructed to break up the play whenever the Mariners strung a few passes together.

They nullified Bagan’s creative nucleus and dominated the battle in the middle of the park. The Snow Leopards did not allow players like Omar Elhussieny and Sourav Das or even Yuta Kinowaki to settle in midfield and hence they hardly had any impact throughout the match, creating only a handful of chances for the forward line.

4. Is Mason Robertson’s versatility Real Kashmir’s biggest strength?

Real Kashmir have been a surprise package in the league and they remained consistent in that aspect. One can never judge their formation by looking at the team-sheet. Gnohere Krizo’s absence meant coach Robertson threw his son, Mason alongside Abednego Tetteh, and he proved to be the difference between the two sides. Mason Robertson primarily a defender has featured time and again in the forward line, especially because of his aerial prowess.

Staying true to his reputation, the Scott handed Kashmir the lead with an exquisite diving header. If that wasn’t enough he ran straight through the Mohun Bagan defence before launching a thunderous shot past Shilton Paul. Robertson was used upfront because of his physicality and he did his job with much aplomb. He even went back to his natural position in the latter exchanges of the match to help out his defenders.

3. Are Mohun Bagan over-dependent on Sony Norde?

The Haitian returned back to the starting lineup after an injury layoff and the stage was set for Norde to unleash his magic and propel the Mariners in the league standings. The 29-year-old winger did everything in his power to inspire his side, but fell short against a stubborn Real Kashmir defence. The Haitian did find a way to score a goal and set the platform for the Mariners to get back into the match, but it was all a little too much and he was all on his own to turn the tide in their favour.

Norde’s sublime free-kick in the first half is a testament to the fact that the winger has not lost his golden touch. In his absence, the other attackers hardly had any impact and failed to find the net way too many times, proving their dependency on the Haitian.


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2. Is Loveday Enyinnaya the most underrated defender in I-League this season?

Loveday Enyinnaya- is not a new name in Indian football, but hardly has he been given his due credit for his defensive stability. The Nigerian held his ground throughout the 90 minutes and had an answer to everything which was thrown at him. Loveday kept the likes of Henry Kisekka in check and did not allow the Ugandan any space in the final third.

His fearlessness was evident as he plunged  into a tackle in the penalty box and secured the ball with coomand. David Robertson’s system requires a stubborn defender who will give nothing away to the opposition and Loveday fits the bill perfectly. His no-nonsense attitude at the back and a calm head on his shoulders explain why he has the armband.

1. What is the main reason behind Mohun Bagan’s struggles at home?

The Mariners have failed to live up to their reputation and their home games have been a blessing in disguise for almost all their opponents till now. Shankarlal Chakraborty’s inability to counter situations within the match has time again proven to be the difference. Chakraborty in most of his matches lacked an alternative plan and at times questions were also raised on his team selection. The Mariners had major defensive frailties right from the start of the season and it was even more horrible at home, as centre-backs Kingsley Obumneme and Lalchhawnkima hardly had any understanding in the course of fixtures.

The Mariners lost their shape time and again and allowed teams way too much space on the flanks. With the Salt Lake Stadium boasting a wide pitch, teams tend to hit Bagan on the counter through the flanks, which resulted in drawing mistakes from the full-backs who were mostly under immense pressure.