| Tollygunge’s Gouranga Dutta takes a tumble near the Eastern Railway goal at Rabindra Sarobar Stadium Thursday. Picture by Santosh Ghosh
Calcutta: Tollygunge Agragami showed ineptitude near the rival penalty area, Eastern Railway successfully disturbed the rhythm of their opponents and referee Arup Chakraborty stole the show with some supremely injudicious verdicts in Thursday’s CFL Super Division match at Rabindra Sarobar Stadium.
The goalless match, interrupted by frequent stoppages, left Tollygunge on two points after two matches, and still looking for their first win under new coach Subrata Bhattacharya. Eastern Railway moved to four after three outings.
Football, however, was hardly the highlight of the match. Referee Chakraborty appeared determined to use the card as leniently as possible, ignoring several bookable offences, and Tollygunge, it has to be said, was the team to suffer most.
The few hundreds watching the match got a good account of the inept supervision and invaded the ground after the match, forcing the police to form a shield around the match officials before escorting them to a vehicle outside.
That didn’t stop the crowd from hurling a few plastic bottles at the referee. Fortunately, there was no serious injury to anybody. How the spectators made their way inside the ground after the match, however, remained unanswered.
The referee didn’t start badly. He tried to pacify players after an early scuffle without reaching for the cards, but his decision to stick to this stand led to disaster. The Eastern Railway players looked determined to unsettle their opponents by employing tricks forbidden by the law.
Biplab Adhikari, for example, was the one to benefit most from the referee’s generosity. Just a yellow, despite at least four nasty challenges including one after the booking, was all that he got as punishment before being taken off in the 73rd minute.
The referee did reach for the cards towards the end and marched off Santanu Dey of Tollygunge and Gouranga Dutta of Eastern Railway in the 80th minute after a scuffle. Similar brawls had gone unnoticed earlier.
To make matters worse for Tollygunge, Amit Das left the pitch with a gash under his right eye in the second half, which ruled him out of their next match — against Mohun Bagan on Tuesday.
Amit was the livewire in the Tollygunge midfield, shouldering load, initiating moves and also moving up to score. His shot from inside the box in the 32nd minute was brilliantly parried by goalkeeper Tapan Karmakar, but Amit was pushed from behind just as he was about to pounce on the rebound. This time, the referee overlooked a penalty.
There were a few more half-chances for Tollygunge, but the confidence and competence to make them count were not there. Eastern Railway didn’t even force the half-chances, but looked solid and organised in the rear.
Railway FC beat Wari AC 1-0 in the day’s other Super Division match at Howrah Stadium.
Tollygunge Agragami: Chinmoy Banerjee; Kabijit Khotel, Partha Sarathi Dey, Sujit Patra, Shamsi Reza; Kajal Bhattacharya (Suman Dutta, 68), Ajay Singh, Amit Das (Chinmoy Sarkar, 85), Prakash Kolay; Gouranga Dutta, Kaustav Ghosh (Laltu das, 71).
Eastern Railway: Tapan Karmakar; Santanu Dey, Nilanjan Guha, Debdas Sen, Ranjit Sardar (Santanu Bit, 80); Kuntal Biswas, Biplab Adhikari (Sanjib Santra, 73), Samrat Roy Chowdhury, Saikat Mondal (Mohan Chakraborty, 64); Somnath Pramanik, Henry Odogo.
Referee: Arup Chakraborty.