Calcutta: East Bengal’s fortunes in Wednesday’s AFC Cup return leg semi-final tie depended a good deal on James Moga.
The South Sudanese had a miserable day in office. Coach Marcos Falopa rightly took him off in the 51st minute. But Moga was visibly upset with the decision. Trudging back to the dug out, he was seen making angry gestures at the coach. The club officials will decide on his behaviour depending on what Falopa says.
This is a day Moga would certainly like to forget. After the exchange of words with the coach, he almost got into a scuffle with an East Bengal fan while leaving the stadium.
The supporter pulled Moga and hurled abuses at him. Moga tried to get hold of the person before police intervened and calmed him down.
One cannot really put the entire blame on the fans because a striker of the calibre of Moga is expected to turn out something special in a game of such significance.
Apart from this one-off incident, it was the indomitable spirit of the 70,000-odd fans, who wanted to paint the Salt Lake Stadium in red and gold, that stood out.
Eminent personalities in governor M.K. Narayanan, minister for commerce and industries Partha Chatterjee, sports minister Madan Mitra and education minister Bratya Basu were also present, seated in the VVIP box.
“Kuwait SC played better than us,” the governor said, before leaving at the end of the first session.
Mitra and Basu, too, left during half-time along with the governor, while Chatterjee was present for another 15 minutes after resumption.