The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Ashim dazzles in Bagan win
- Defence a major worry for Aloke Mukherjee’s team

Calcutta: Mohun Bagan as a team has failed to fire the imagination of the public. It has lacked purpose and direction and organisational skills, not to speak of the class of soccer. Striker Ashim Biswas, though, stands head and shoulders above his teammates, barring, possibly, Jose Ramirez Barreto.

Wednesday Bagan strode 3-0 winners over Calcutta Port Trust at home, two hits from Biswas, the other from Barreto, the Brazilian’s first this season. Biswas has so far scored four goals for Bagan, and it was primarily because of this diminutive player that the Bagan forward line looks toothy enough.

The victory wasn’t as smooth or well oiled as the scoreline may suggest. The first half was a disaster in space and man management, the defence pitching in with horrendous mistakes. In the 17th minute Bagan deep defender Debkumar Shasmal was in the face of a one-off attack and, as a lob reached the goalmouth, he rose to head. It was brilliant header, could have been termed a brilliant effort at goal, only in the wrong direction. Thankfully, it missed the mark for the suicidal effort.

Bagan were the dominant force, but the defenders possibly aren’t yet sure which team they play for. A couple of minutes after the Shasmal near-disaster Sujit Dey carried a tentative Port attack into the rival defence. Shasmal, expectedly, missed, and Harpreet Singh did not find it necessary to tackle. It’s another story that, with goalkeeper Imran Khan ahead, Sujit shot out.

Then there was this 30-yard shot from Port’s Subho Kumar in the 30th minute that missed the defenders and the target.

For the doubting Thomases, it must be made clear that Bagan still enjoyed most of the exchanges, and Barreto’s punch, fisted out in the 36th minute was a good example before the goal, five minutes later. Barreto was into the box up the left, tapping onto Marcos Pereira who relayed the tap to Biswas, moving in from the left. Biswas controlled and shot home.

That was Marcos’ first positive move in his first match for a Calcutta team. He started off rather gingerly, and it seemed he was out there enjoying a lazy stroll. He picked up a bit of momentum later, but he has miles to go before he can even start to justify why he is to be paid a good salary. Biswas’ second goal was pretty classy, picking up a ball 25 yards off the target and slotting home a fine rising left-footed volley. Port goalkeeper Gopal Das, who otherwise had a good day, could not even react to this 77th-minute strike.

By the time the third goal was scored the Bagan halfline had adjusted with each other somewhat and the forward line looked a happier lot. The Hardeep Gill (substitute), Marcos, Barreto and Biswas combination could be interesting if coach Aloke Mukherjee can work on it. In the 85th minute Biswas moved up the left and centred to Rennedy who lobbed to Barreto. An excellent header from the Brazilian quickly found the netting.


Mohun Bagan: Imran Khan, Rishi Kapoor, Harpreet Singh (Palash Karmakar, 82), Debkumar Shasmal, Manitombi Singh, Basudeb Mondal (Hardeep Gill, 68), Abhay Kumar (Hardeep Saini, 32), Rennedy Singh, Marcos Pereira, Jose Ramirez Barreto, Ashim Biswas.

Calcutta Port Trust: Gopal Das, Srimanta Das, Robi Karmakar, Madhusudan Majumdar, Tapan Das, Koushik Prasad (Santanu Chakraborty, 70), Subho Kumar (Arindam Dey, 85), Pramit Roy (Amit Roy, 38), Amar Pyne, Sujit Dey, Pradip Indu.

Referee: Tarun Pal

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