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Barreto holds Bagan

Calcutta: Just as he has done on umpteen occasions in the past, Jose Ramirez Barreto, on Tuesday, once again proved why he’s a class apart.

Barreto’s skills don’t seem to have died down one bit even at the fag end of his career, as he single-handedly helped Bhowanipore Club restrict Mohun Bagan to a 1-1 draw in the CFL Super Nine tie, at the Salt Lake Stadium.

A calf-injury having forced him out of action in the last four matches, the task was all the more difficult for the Brazilian.

Yet, the talismanic striker rose to the occasion just when it mattered, helping Bhowanipore earn a point from the game.

Bagan were cruising towards victory, riding on Anil Kumar’s 34th minute strike, off Snehasish Chakraborty’s centre. However, a shot from substitute Santosh Oraon hit Manish Maithani’s elbow inside the box and referee Minangshu Bhattacharya straightaway pointed to the dreaded spot.

Barreto then comfortably converted off a penalty that restored parity in the 78th minute.

Operating from a little withdrawn position, Barreto kept Bagan defenders on their toes for a better part of the second session. In fact, better execution might well have enabled Bhowanipore upset their illustrious opponents. However, for Barreto, Tuesday’s result was as good as a win. At the same time, he was happy as his emotions took a backseat against his former club where he rose to stardom.

“Had I been emotional I could’ve missed the penalty,” Barreto quipped, adding: “It wasn’t easy for me since I took the field after four matches because of a calf-muscle injury.

“I’m happy with my and the team’s performance at the end of the day. Bagan were the dominant side in the first half, but the second half belonged to us.”