Sony Nordy celebrates his goal against Mohun Bagan,
at the Salt Lake Stadium, on Saturday. A Telegraph picture
Calcutta: Mohun Bagan’s hopes of advancing to the semi final of the 118th IFA Shield came to a grinding halt at the Salt Lake Stadium here on Saturday as Bangladesh’s Dhanmondi Club rode a lone strike by Sony Nordy to victory.
Even a draw on Saturday would have seen Mohun Bagan enter the semi-final. But a saga of missed chances saw them go home empty-handed.
The goal that Anyichie Echezona missed, in the 84th minute, underscored the state of affairs in the Mohun Bagan ranks. Just nothing went right.
It was a spectacular goal from Sony Nordy that took Dhanmondi ahead in the 23rd minute. Taking a free-kick from the left the forward foxed one and all with a curling right footer. With the defence caught napping and Shilton Paul completely out of position the ball struck the far post and went in.
Mohun Bagan were left to rue the fact that their defence had no clue how to anticipate and thwart a free-kick in the danger zone.
The first half actually saw Mohun Bagan dominate the exchanges, but to no avail. For the handful of fans who spent their Saturday afternoon at Salt Lake Stadium, hoping for some revival in their team’s fortune, it was a painful situation.
Mohun Bagan players created opportunities, but poor finish did not help their cause.
Time and again they missed sitters. Ram Malik, Katsumi Yusa, CS Sabeeth, Pankaj Moula, Zakeer Mundampara — the list of defaulters just kept getting longer.
With coach Karim Bencharifa unable to hide his frustration on the sidelines, the local giants failed to make a mark even as the outfit from across the border played smart football and did the needful to earn full points.
Both teams started on a cautious note, but Mohun Bagan could have taken an early lead in the fifth minute itself.
Ram Malik set up a perfect aerial shot from the right and Sabeeth attempted a flying header with only the custodian Ziaur Rahman to beat. But Sabeeth could not connect and a fairly easy chance went abegging.
Even before Nordy had given Dhanmondi the lead, Katsumi’s lone dash down the left had looked dangerous. But his attempted long ranger failed to get anywhere near the mark.
In the last 10 minutes of the first half, the city team created even more opportunities and kept up a persistent pressure on the opponent goal. But none of their efforts bore fruit.
In the 86th, a fumble on part of Ziaur gave Anyichie a great opportunity to draw level. With the goalkeeper out of position the ball was almost home but for a timely save by Mohammed Nasiruddin.
Dhanmondi Club: Zia ur Rahman, Mohammed Nasiruddin, Yeamin Ahmed (Rayhan Hasan, 68), Mohammed Lincoln, Mamun Islam, Sohel Rana, Didarul Hoqe, Yeasin Khan, Sony Nordy, Wedson Anselme (Amisu Abdulahi 56), Emeka Darlington
Mohun Bagan: Shilton Paul, Aiborlang Khongjee, Anyichie Echezona, Kinshuk Debnath, Denson Devadas, Pritam Kotal (Shouvik Ghosh 26), CS Sabeeth, Ram Malik (Shankar Oraon 38), Pankaj Moula (Rowilson Rodrigues, 66), Zakeer Mundampara, Katsumi Yusa
Referee: MB Santhosh Kumar
MoM: Mamun Islam