Mohun Bagan lost the Kolkata derby at Salt Lake after almost two years, last being in February 2007, by a solitary goal from Shaumik Dey! But this time its triple the amount! Two coming from Nabi and the last one from the former Bagan youngster, Chettri.
From the way the match started, it seemed Bagan were about to cut a flesh out of KEB's heart. Waves of attack lashed the East Bengal penalty box and Bhaichung Bareto were busy heading and shooting balls towards Abhra Mondal, who slightly lucky, slightly brave was equally upto the task!
Bagan was taken aback in the 22nd minute, when from a corner, an entirely unmarked Rahim Nabi headed in from an unbelievable acute angle. The ball hit the cross bar and went in. Nobody could have done anything. A goal to appreciate, no doubt.
Bagan were just trying to shrug the early set back and get into the game and find an equaliser, but the effort was directionless. And out of the chaos, East Bengal put another in. From a free kick from just out side the box, from the right, Renedy found Nabi, who rose above Odafe to head it in. What was glaring was how on both the occasions Nabi was left free. Subhas has always laid stress on the scoring abilities of Nabi even though he is a side back. The Bagan defense completely over looked the person they should have been most aware of.
The second half promised some tactical move on Kareem's side to put Bagan off the misery. But unfortunate as it were, it was another lacuna in the Bagan defense that was exploited. Rahim Nabi made a run down the right flank, and sent in a minus for Chettri. Manju, a complete misfit as a Central Back was out of his position, and Dipak, who should have been at the thick of it was left in the flanks. Why this was 'unfortunate' is because, Sunil Chettri dawning the green and maroon, a few years back has had even easier chances in front of the goal and he made sure that the opposite goal keeper would thank him after the match for not embarrassing him on the day. But luck favoured and today Chettri went bounding away after scoring the third.
Bagan seemed not out of ideas, but out of resources. Bagan game seemed like a sad tale of disjointed episodes with Deepak running up the flank, trying to centre, hitting the opposite number, Manju rolling into the opponent's half with the ball, ending up passing it off to a KEB player then failing to get back to his position. Dipak needs to play the role of a CB. Manju if can not play LB then may be Mohunraj would still be a better option, considering fully his current horrible run of form and if not him atleast Rahul Kumar.
However, Bagan pressed on in the second half, with Lalampuia, Lalkamal and Mama, but it was just not to be. Bhaichung kept on missing headers, Barreto kept on getting tangled in a mesh work of KEB legs.
However, Kareem should know better that this is not the end of the road. Infact this is where it starts. The I League. It gets tougher and Bagan has to prove its character. The easy job is done. Now to win the I League, Bagan has to win all the matches, hoping SCG falter.
Set backs happen to the best of them, but its those who come back to show that it was nothing but a set back are the best!
Bagan certainly has the character and to win 10 matches in a row is no walk in the park. But Kareem now just needs to shrug off the negative vibes, if there is any, and look forward to winning the I League and making this season memorable one for all the right reasons!
Long Live Mohun Bagan!