| Tollygunge Agragami’s scorers Ashim Biswas (left) and Akeem Abolanle after the match against Mohun Bagan at the Salt Lake Stadium Monday.
Calcutta: Mohun Bagan continued with their dismal run in the Calcutta Football League on Monday, as they crashed to their third loss, this time against Tollygunge Agragami at the Salt Lake Stadium. Akeem Abolanle and Ashim Biswas scored for Agragami while Jose Ramirez Barreto consoled Bagan by converting a spot-kick.
The Salt Lake Stadium, once known for the exquisite condition of its pitch, needed a few stray showers over the last two days to turn into an unplayable quagmire. The ball was not rolling making life miserable for the players.
Despite the adverse conditions, Tollygunge Agragami put up an organised display and deserve all the accolades for returning with full points.
However, Tollygunge’s unlikely hero was their 21-year-old goalkeeper from Belghoria, Amar Deb. Having spent two seasons on Air India’s benches, this was his first match of the season. And what an appearance it was, keeping out at least four sure-shot goals.
The Tollygunge boys were more attacking than they had been in their last game and their nippy midfielders played some quality passing game in the middle-third. Another striking feature of the team was that they never seemed to run out of breath. This helped as they were able to increase strength in attack and defence as required, despite the heavy ground conditions.
As the match wore on, Tollygunge caught the opposition napping on the counter and it is about time Mohun Bagan provides the golden handshake to defenders like Satybrata Bhowmick. Bhowmick, along with colleagues Santosh Singh and Sumit Sengupta were often seen lolling in the mud as Ashim Biswas, Mehtab Hossain, Srikanta Dutta and Akeem Abolanle tore into the Bagan territory in lightning pace.
The green and maroon boys did create a few opportunities in both halves, but they were stopped sometimes by Deb or the cross-piece and on others by the referee Kashinath Sen.
Bagan clearly deserved two more penalties and it is beyond understanding why the referee overlooked this.
On the first occasion, Barreto was dragged down inside the penalty box by Tollygunge defender Sujit Niyogi, but the man in black was nowhere near. Even when the Bagan players demanded a spot-kick, Sen chose not to consult the assistant referee.
Be that as it may, Bagan, after a narrow escape in the seventh minute, conceded the first goal in the 15th. Dutta’s through-ball caught the make-shift Bagan defence line of George Ekeh and Satyabrata Bhowmick napping and reached Akeem, who dribbled past the Bagan custodian to slot it into the open net.
Bagan came very near to equalising in the 25th minute, but Basudeb Mondal’s rasping right-footer struck the cross-piece and went out. Just before the breather, Sheikh Sanjeeb set one up for Gourav Dutta but the latter’s shot was blocked on the goal-line by Kabijit Khotel.
In between Barreto took some crisp shots only to find Deb in his way. Bagan restored parity in the 55th minute after coach Subrata Bhattacharya brought up George Ekeh in the midfield putting Sumit Sengupta in defence. The Nigerian dribbled in only to be tripped by Niyogi inside the box. Barreto made no mistake with a grounder from the spot.
Tollygunge stole it away in the 87th minute when Mehtab Hossain’s centre from the left found an unmarked Ashim Biswas who headed in past Bibhash Ghosh with three Bagan defenders failing to take position.
After the match, Mohun Bagan coach Bhattacharya said that he will practice with some selected players for the rest of the season. “There is no point playing these players who are unsuitable to play for Bagan. I want to select about 17 players and practice with them.”
Tollygunge Agragami: Amar Deb, Kabijit Khotel, Sujit Niyogi, Isiaka Awoyemi, Dipayan Majumdar, Mehtab Hossain, Sujoy Dutta, Amitava Chanda (Biswaroop Bishu, 59), Srikanta Dutta, Ashim Biswas, Akeem Abolanle
Mohun Bagan: Bibhash Ghosh, Santosh Singh, George Ekeh, Satyabrata Bhowmick, Lolendra Singh (Rajib Ghosh, 17), Sheikh Sanjeeb (Uday Konar, 46), Jayanta Sen, Basubeb Mondal, Gourav Dutta (Sumit Sengupta, 63), Jose Ramirez Barreto, Sunil Chettry
Referee: Kashinath Sen