Calcutta: Kingfisher East Bengal’s CFL Super 12 opener against Kalighat MS was called off due to bad light after 78 minutes, at their home ground on a rain-sodden Sunday. East Bengal were leading 4-1 when referee Pranjal Banerjee felt that light was not enough and called off the match.
Interestingly, in the 70th minute, Kalighat MS goalkeeper Suvam Sen had complained of poor visibility. But then Banerjee had refused to call off. But eight minutes later, when the Kalighat players once again protested, the referee thought they had a valid reason.
IFA secretary Utpal Ganguli said the CFL sub-committee will be meeting “very soon” to decide on the fate of the match, but sources said there would be a replay.
IFA’s decision to have a 4pm kick-off drew criticism from everyone. It was learnt that the broadcaster wanted a 4 pm kick-off since the afternoon slots were booked. Had it been played at the Salt Lake Stadium, the floodlights could have been easily switched on. The rain also compounded the woes.
East Bengal, playing their first competitive match under Brazilian coach Marcos Falopa, obviously were not happy as they thought there was enough light for the match to go on.
Falopa, at the post-match conference, said the IFA should start the match half-an-hour early. “May be they should give it a thought. Today the match could have been completed but the rival team did not want it. They protested and we lost valuable time there as well. It’s a sad case. The IFA cannot stop the match like this. Something has to be done,” the Brazilian said.
IFA joint secretary Prabir Lahiri sounded helpless. “Our hands are tied. We cannot start the match before 4. But from Monday, since all the games will be played at the Salt Lake Stadium, we hope the matches will not be abandoned.”
Kalighat MS coach Arun Ghosh was also scathing in his attack. “IFA must have gone off its head. How can you have a 4pm start in September? Really, it beats me.”
The incessant rain made the ground slippery but Falopa’s boys did not have any problem whatsoever. They took the lead as early as in the fourth minute. Baljit Sahni floated in one into the box and Kalighat defender Mohan Sarkar prodded it into his own goal.
Thereafter, Alvito D’Cunha, Joaquim Abranches and Reisangmi Vashum scored three more for East Bengal.
For Kalighat MS, Arijit Bagui got the lone goal.