Calcutta: Marcos Falopa wasn’t around for a comment, but one would have certainly liked to hear his views after Sunday’s Derby hero Lalrindika Ralte credited former East Bengal coach Trevor James Morgan for instilling in him the confidence of taking long-rangers.
This was new coach Armando Colaco’s first match with East Bengal, so he wouldn’t mind Ralte doffing his hat to Morgan. It’s a fact that Falopa, during his stint, never really enjoyed any reference to Morgan.
“I dedicate the goal to my family and my girlfriend… I also want to credit Morgan as he was the one who gave me the confidence and encouraged me to take long-rangers. I really blossomed under him and I thank him for that,” Ralte said after his 30-yard left-footer made all the difference in East Bengal’s 1-0 win over Mohun Bagan.
Ralte’s love for long-rangers is no secret. He once again stressed on the hard work that goes behind his successful long-rangers. “I love scoring from long-rangers… I have to work really hard during practice to attain perfection. Every day, after the training session, I practise them for some 20-odd minutes,” he said.
An East Bengal-Mohun Bagan Derby is always special. Any player who scores in one, especially in a winning cause, is elated. Ralte was no different. “Scoring for the first time in a Derby is always special… It just feels awesome to score in front of 80,000 people. It’s the best goal of my career so far… Better than the one I scored in the AFC Cup.”
But the 21-year-old is not one to rest on his laurels. Rather, he is hungry for the future. “This goal is now past and I need to look into the future. My target is to win the I-League for East Bengal and put up an even better performance,” he emphasised.
East Bengal’s Japanese recruit Ryuji Sueoka, though, wasn’t too surprised with Ralte’s strike. “Of course, it was a terrific goal… But I’m not surprised as I’ve seen Lalrindika scoring these types of goals quite often in the past. He’s very much capable of getting them consistently,” Sueoka said.
Coach Armando Colaco, who admitted that the Calcutta Derby is a different experience altogether, feels Ralte could be far more dangerous if he uses his right leg.
“Lalrindika has a powerful left-footer, no doubt about it. That made the difference today. But he hardly uses his right-leg. In any case, he plays at a very difficult position in the left wing. With a little bit of correction, he can become an even better player,” the seasoned coach said.
Colaco’s counterpart, Karim Bencharifa, too, lauded Ralte’s strike. “I must say that was an out-of-the-world goal… Truly, a special one that took the game away from us,” he said.
But Falopa, who has returned to Brazil, wouldn’t be completely disappointed. True, Ralte didn’t remember him. But Colaco did. As promised, Colaco dedicated the Derby win to the Brazilian. “I dedicate this win to Falopa… I’ll give him a call soon as he had wished me whole-heartedly for this match.”
Amidst all the jubilation, captain Mehtab Hussain’s injury will leave a few creases on Colaco’s forehead. East Bengal’s next match is on Thursday, against United SC.
“It might take three to four days to recover from this knee injury. Let’s see what happens,” was all Mehtab could say.