Mohun Bagan today edged past Raghu Nandi's George Telegraph at the Mohun Bagan ground with a 90th minute goal coming from Peter Odafe to take Mohun Bagan to the top of the CFL table with 13 points from 6 mtches, drawing 4 points clear of city rivals East Bengal before the big derby on the 5th!
From the beginning of the match, Mohun Bagan found it hard to cope up with the fast play of George's midfield, and specially with not the best Midfield on show, Bagan played into the hands of Raghu Nandi's boys. But come the 21st minute, Mohun Bagan, from a counter attack from the right drew first blood, quite against the run of play! Malsauwmtlunga from the right sent in a ball for Barreto in the penalty box, and the Brazilian ace, gaining control of the ball set it up for an advancing Lalampuia, who placed a perfect wide in-swinging shot into the goal, keeping the keeper guessing! Lalampuia becomes the joint top scorer in the CFL 2008-09 along with Okoro and Theo of Mohd. Sp.
Bagan inspite of going in front kept defending the moves brought in George, and the deficiency in the midfield was apparent with Karim lacking a good blocker or a play maker.
But as if throwing any worries to the wind, Bagan surged ahead with another goal, this time through Malsauwmtlunga in the 37th minute. James from the right sent in a cross, and Malsauwmtlunga, quite like he did against Railway FC, broke from the pack just in the nick of time and lobbed the ball over the advancing kepeer as the George keeper crashed into Mama! Mama becomes the top scorer in the CFL 2008-09 along with Okoro and Theo of Mohd. Sp and co-mariner, Lalampuia
Bagan went into the half, two goals ahead!
With the beginning of the second half, George was presented with a penalty of an unexplained cause, though referee seems to have seen Vasan committing a hand ball, though not convincing. Francis stepped up to take the penalty but Sangram managed to save the ball by diving to his left, but the rebound was thumped past the helpless keeper by Freebone! George pull one back! With city rivals East Bengal on 11 points from 6 matches and Bagan on 10 from 5, and the Derby just days away, the dirty game of Kolkata Maidan started as the match official tried all they could to hold Bagan back. The Match Official started pulling the game into the Bagan half by adjudging unnecessary fouls on George players thus helping them create much pressure on Bagan, just in case they could draw level. With a virtually non existent midfield, team Bagan fought against all odds as rain started pouring! Based on counter attacks and the Bagan defence taking the entire load with just one goal difference, Bagan survived critically and the inevitable happened in the 80th minute as Francis equalised with a wonderfully kept shot from the top of the box beating Sangram!
All hopes seemed lost as Bagan tried all out for that ellusive 3rd goal, and Lalkamal, it seemed was hell bent on how to squander the priceless chances that came his way.
90 minutes on the clock, when all seemed lost and Bagan would have to settle for 1 point, Peter Odafe, the Bagan defender, as if to avenge his fellow mariner's ordeal, Mohunraj who let in a last minute goal against Mohd. Sp. saved Bagan from the blushes and took them to a safe haven with 3 valuable points! Odafe somehow managed to steer in a ball, from Habibur return, with the George goalie clutching to his feet! Odafe though, sustained injury thus, and Rakesh Masi came on for just 3 minutes!
Bagan are on 13 points from 6 matches but ahead of Mohd. Sporting with equal points from same number of matches, but lagging behind in goal difference!
Team: Sangram, Odafe, Vasan, Naveen(Habibur), Mohunraj, Lalkamal, Jr. James, Sr. James(Lamramluah), Malsauwmtlung, Barreto, Lalampuia