Calcutta: Tollygunge Agragami were looking for their first win, while collecting their first point was top priority for Bhratri Sangha. In an upset of sorts, Bhratri Sangha collected three points, with three goals to boot, in Thursday’s CFL Super Division match at Rabindra Sarobar Satadium.
The 3-0 scoreline was not misleading. It rightly reflected the nature of proceedings and Tollygunge were fortunate to avoid bigger humiliation. Subrata Bhattacharya’s boys now must have to play out of their skins in the remaining seven matches to make it to the top six. They have two points from four outings, while Sishir Ghosh’s Bhratri Sangha opened their account in their third match.
An unknown Sanjib Sashmal emerged hero of the day with two opportunistic strikes in the 41st and 84th minutes after an equally unheralded Swapan Munda had opened scoring against the National League outfit in the 36th. Their teammates missed more, but there was hardly any serious threat in the Tollygunge forays.
Bhratri started on a bright note, playing neat, low passes in the midfield build-ups to put the rival defence under pressure. Goutam Naha, enterprising in the midfield, tested the Tollygunge goalkeeper with a long-ranger in the fourth minute before Ranjan Sarkar made a mess of Swapan’s cross from the right 15 minutes later.
All those were dangerous signs and an unexpectedly shaky Tollygunge defence perhaps didn’t take them as the wake up call. Their team had come close in the tenth minute, when Soumen Dutta hit wide a centre from Prakash Kolay, but that good move turned out to be an exception.
Disaster struck Subrata’s team when Ranjan ran down the left and sent in a low cross for Swapan, who had advanced unmarked towards the far post. The medio took a first-time right-footer which was brilliantly blocked by Rajnarayan Mukherjee, but Swapan latched onto the rebound and made no mistake this time.
If this move exposed how lax the Tollygunge defence was, the second goal made clear it was not Subrata’s day. An apparently harmless clearance made its way through the heart of the Tollygunge defence, and just a late challenge on Sanjib — who followed the ball unmarked — was just not enough to prevent further calamity.
Tollygunge, without a clutch of frontliners they desperately need, tried hard in the second half. And yet, the lack of verve and ammunition in the attacking front restricted their activities largely to runs up to the penalty area. Also, sniffing their maiden victory under a new coach, Bhratri defended with zest.
The third goal summed up the frustration among the Tollygunge ranks as a throw-in landed inside the six-yard box, and Sanjib once again reached the ball before a host of Tollygunge players and the goalkeeper to tap it over Rajnarayan.
Bhratri Sangha: Arijit Sen Gupta (Binod Malik, 70); Avijit Dalal, Ashta Karar, Amritlal Biswas, Sheikh Sikander; Sanjib Sashmal, Swapan Munda, Goutam Naha, Ranjan Sarkar; Pratap Senapati (Manoj Singh, 81), Debu Pradhan.
Tollygunge Agragami: Rajnarayan Mukherjee; Kabijit Khotel, Parthasarathi Dey, Sujit Neogi, Samshi Reza; Kajal Bhattacharya (Laltu Das, 57), Prakash Kolay, Sandip Das (Amit Dutta, 23), Suman Dutta; Debashish Giri (Niladri Chakraborty, 38), Kaustav Ghosh.
Referee: Debashish Mishra.