Calcutta: In a time when the Okolie Odafes and Edeh Chidis dictate Indian football, an army of 11 Indian men showed how playing good football is not all about foreign genes.
Army XI’s 3-2 win over Mohammedan Sporting in a CFL Premier Division match, at the Barasat Stadium, on Saturday, is therefore not just a victory of the Siddhartha Chattopadhyay-coached team, it’s the triumph of the belief that not everything Indian is substandard as far as Indian football goes. That is the reason why Army XI’s 24-year-old striker Arjun Tudu won the Man of the Match award even when there were Penn Orji and Joshimar on the opposition ranks.
Arjun scored a brace, but he scored more points for his lively presence throughout the match. Assisting him well was his striking partner P. Jain . Vipin got the other goal for Army.
About Mohammedan Sporting, well, there’s not much to say. Penn and substitute Ashim Biswas got goals, but one wasn’t sure if their team had a goal. They looked listless and their lacklustre ways looked amateurish as compared to the disciplined show by Army. Army’s first goal came in the 26th minute when Vipin set up Arjun in the rival box. The latter came up with a clinical volley past the ’keeper. The finish was a welcome sight for many who are used to seeing strikers in Indian football shooting heavenwards from point-blank range.
Army’s second came in the 42nd minute. This time, a faulty back-head by a Mohammedan Sporting defender gave Jain P a free shot within the box and the Army player didn’t err.
Army XI: Binu T Purushothaman, Kiran Varghesh, TL Kuki, Anthony Chetri (Rojen Meetai, 88), DK Mahato, Shadip Rai, Santu Subba (Suresh Meetai 90+3), Lalramneingmawia, Vipin TV, P. Jain (Sanal, 90), Arjun Tudu.
Mohammedan Sporting: Luis Barreto, Dhanarajan, Nirmal Chetri, Rakesh Masih (Ashim Biswas, 85), Collin Abranches, Jerry Zirsangha (Ishfaq Ahmed, 33), Samson Ramenmawia, Antony Soren (Mehrajuddin Wadoo, 55), Khantang Paite, Penn Orji, Joshimar.
Referee: Ajit Dutta
MoM: Arjun Tudu