| The Mohun Bagan trio (from left) Jose Ramirez Barreto, Ashim Biswas and Rennedy Singh celebrates a goal at Salt Lake Stadium on Sunday. Picture by Amit Datta
Calcutta: Slowly but steadily, Mohun Bagan seem to be shrugging off the July 5 nightmare. On that fateful Saturday, the green-and-maroon brigade were drubbed by their arch-rivals, but in a week’s time they look a much organised unit.
Mohun Bagan played some quality football in a span of 25 minutes scoring four goals, thus dismissing a dangerous Mohammedan AC, who had done quite well leading to Sunday’s game in the Super Division.
With this win, Mohun Bagan have 12 points from five games, while Mohammedan AC stay on nine.
Jose Ramirez Barreto, the Brazilian sorcerer, was in his elements on a slippery Salt Lake Stadium turf. His outstanding distribution opened up the rival defence a number of times, and had the Bagan attackers been a little more careful, it could have led to more goals for the former champions.
He struck quite a superb combination with Ashim Biswas and Marcos Parreira, and the three were instrumental in all the four scored. Moreover, Mohammedan AC coach Mridul Banerjee did something which East Bengal didn’t dare to do against a half-fit Barreto last Saturday. He was allowed free space, and the intelligent player that he is, made full use of it.
Playing open football, Mohammedan AC created a couple of opportunities in the first session, but once they conceded the first goal, it was one way traffic.
Mridul, however, complained that the first goal “was clearly from an off-side position and that took the wind off our sails”.
But when Rishi Kapoor released the ball for Barreto in the 26th minute, the Brazilian was on the same line with a Mohammedan AC defender. He controlled the ball, went past the rival ’keeper and tapped it into the open net.
The Mohammedan AC players gheraoed linesman Dhanapati Das and the game was halted for about nine minutes. And this break didn’t do them any good, as they conceded another goal immediately after resumption.
Ashim played a beautiful one-two with Marcos and just as the former was going to shoot, Swarup Chatterjee tripped him from the back. A penalty resulted and Barreto placed it to the left of Shibram Dey.
The third goal, in the 45th minute, was the best of the lot. Ashim, Barreto and Marcos were involved in a three-pass set-piece with Marcos finishing it off with a booming right footer from inside the box.
By then, Mohammedan AC were shattered and the fourth goal in the second minute of injury-time was a gift. Ashim was allowed a free-header from the top of the six-yard box following a Rennedy Singh corner, and the striker made no mistake.
In the second session, Mridul showed some good intent, employing Ali Reza to mark Barreto closely. In fact, Reza’s ugly challenge on Barreto could have sidelined the Brazilian for quite sometime. It definitely deserved a red card, instead the referee showed him yellow. As Barreto lost his cool, he was also meted out a similar treatment by the referee. Aloke Mukherjee, quite intelligently, took his trump card off immediately.
The defence, meanwhile, still remains a worry for Bagan. Mohammedan AC made use of the space between the defenders and midfielders and came very close to scoring at least on two occasions in the second session.
In fact, Najimul Haq’s shot from inside the box was crashing into the net when Mohun Bagan defender Debkumar Sashmol got his body in between.
Mohun Bagan: Imran Khan (Arindam Ghosh), Palash Karmakar, Harpreet Singh (Sanjib Maria, 46), Debkumar Sashmol, Rishi Kapoor, Marcos Parreira, Hardeep Gill, Hardeep Saini, Rennedy Singh, Jose Ramirez Barreto (Mehtab Hossain, 74), Ashim Biswas.
Mohammedan AC: Shibram Dey, Reajul Mustafa, Sandipan Das, Seriyat Raja, Sk Manjur, Bastab Roy, Swarup Chatterjee (Ali Reza, 36), Subrata Guha (Soumitra Chakraborty, 78), Khemtang Paite, Najimul Haq, Ari Bengamin.
Referee: Udayan Halder.