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Mohun Bagan squeeze out 1-0 victory
Super division - Freak goal, ragged play mark insipid tie vs RFC

Calcutta: A dreadful second half, some horrible defensive blunders, a ragged forward line in the absence of Jose Ramirez Barreto and a freak goal early in the first half that finally saw them through. In a nutshell, that was how the script unfolded for Mohun Bagan against Railway FC at their home ground Tuesday evening.

It’s enough to give Aloke Mukherjee sleepless nights and the supporters very little hope ahead of the Federation Cup. The coach, though, tried to put up a brave front.

“It will be a different battle in the Federation Cup. The matches will be played at Salt Lake Stadium and that will make things a bit easier for the youngsters,” said Aloke.

The start, however, was not that grim for the hosts. Marcos Parreira used his physical advantage and thrust to put the Railway FC defence under stern test. His shot hit the post in the second minute and then Ashim Biswas failed to take advantage off the rebound with an empty net in front.

Another Marcos shot hit the crosspiece a couple of minutes later. The goal came in the tenth minute.

Marcos’ low cross inside the box hardly seemed venomous when Gaurav Datta tried to clear with Rennedy Singh in chase. In an attempt to put the ball beyond the Bagan skipper’s reach, Gaurav’s misdirected hit landed inside his own goal.

Referee Biswajit Kar, however, decided to award it to Marcos. The cross was never goalbound and the referee’s decision came as a big surprise.

Mohun Bagan’s challenge ended with Marcos’ departure at the end of the first half. In the injured Barreto’s absence, there was none who showed the ability to lead the forwardline.

Ashim struggled to take position inside the penalty box and most of his shots were off target. Rennedy never showed the zeal to lead by example as he seemed lost in the crowd.

The skipper’s show was so pathetic that the coach was forced to replace him in the second session.

To add to the forwards’ woes was a non-existent supply line. Basudeb Mondal arrival in the second session made no difference.

As Bagan struggled, Railway FC slowly but steadily made inroads into the rival territory. And the enthusiasm of the unsung youngsters could have fetched them a goal, at least.

Uttam Debnath impressed with his distribution as Suraj Mondal and Dulal Santra opened up the rival defence time and again. Bagan survived narrowly towards the close when Uttam shot over with an empty net in front. The Bagan defence was once more shown in poor light in the second session. This is one area, which will prove a big impediment to their progress this season.

TEAMS

Mohun Bagan: Imran Khan, Manitombi Singh, Deb Kumar Sashmal, Insan Ali, Rishi Kapoor, Mehtab Hossain (Abhay Kumar, 86), Hardip Gill, Hardip Saini, Rennedy Singh (Sunil Chettri, 67), Ashim Biswas, Marcos Parreira (Basudeb Mondal 45).

Railway FC: Rabindranath Poddar, Shib Shankar Chowdhury, Shankar Das, Sundar Mandi, Dwaipayan Majumder, Subhranil Datta (Uttam Debnath), Gaurav Datta, Dinesh Sar (Shuklal Bhumij, 73), Debabrata Roy (Lockai Tudur, 80), Dulal Santra, Suraj Mondal.

Referee: Biswajit Kar.

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