| Ashim Biswas at Salt Lake Stadium Tuesday. Picture by Santosh Ghosh
Calcutta: With every match — be it international or domestic — the talents of Ashim Biswas are unfolding with new sets of wonder and wizardry.
On a day when the ignominy of an artist called Shane Warne grabbed the sporting world’s attention, the diminutive Tollygunge Agragami striker stamped his class once again and proclaimed that he is, indeed, the biggest thing to happen in Indian football of late.
Indian Bank, struggling to avoid relegation and in sheer desperation for a win, were simply blown away by Ashim’s artistry.
On the back of his deft touches, and superb ball-play, Tollygunge routed the Chennai outfit 4-2 in their National Football League match at the Salt Lake Stadium on Tuesday.
The India striker, playing as a withdrawal centre forward, was the pivot on which his team operated.
He covered a lot of space, set up superb balls and joined Akeem Abolanle in the attack as and when necessary. More importantly, he’s already scored seven goals in the League.
The victory left Tollygunge on 17 points from 13 games while Indian Bank were on 11.
The city team played a superb passing game in the middle-third and was always a man up in the attack. Their job was also made easier by the lack of blocking in the Indian Bank ranks.
But with both teams going for full points, the game was really an up-and-down affair. Though the margin indicates a one-sided affair, Indian Bank did come very close to scoring at least twice in the first half itself.
Tollygunge took the lead in the 18th minute, courtesy, a superb strike by Moses Owira. He controlled an air-borne ball and then blasted home a 25-yard left-footer.
Three minutes later, an ever-opportunistic Ashim saw Tollygunge go two up. He made himself free from a clutch of defenders and slammed in a right-footed volley off an Amitava Chanda’s left-wing floater.
This was followed by his 34th-minute booming right-footer from about 30 yards following a free-kick, which beat a diving Sebastian Netto all ends up.
The fourth goal, by Akeem, was also a treat to watch. He chased a long ball from Debkumar Sashmol, beat Anandarajan, the Indian Bank left back with shear speed and put the ball past a hapless Netto.
A touch of complacency crept into the Tollygunge ranks after the goals, and Indian Bank, vying for blood, put two in. In the 73rd minute, Sabir Pasha headed home and three minutes from time, Bashir Ahmed cashed in on an erroneous clearance by Tollygunge defence and slotted home from close range.
TOLLYGUNGE AGRAGAMI: Arindam Ghosh; Amitava Chanda, Isiaka Awoyemi, Debkumar Sasmol (Sujit Neogi, 70), Dipayan Majumdar; Mehtab Hossain, Sandip Das, Moses Owira, Srikanta Dutta (Biswaroop Bishu, 65), Ashim Biswas; Akeem Abolanle.
INDIAN BANK: Sebastian Netto; A.V. Villy (Sabir Pasha, 46), Imran Mohammed, Anandarajan, A.C. Nathaniel; V.K. Harish, Noah Rozario, Mohammed bin Hassan, R. Ravi Babu; Stanley Festus (Hamilton Bobby, 46, Basheer Ahmed, 69), Nadika Jayasuriya.
Referee: M.K. Roy.