Calcutta: Rocked by Saturday’s unexpected loss to Railway FC, Ever-Ready were eager to turn the tide so to say. And what better way than forcing a draw with Mohun Bagan.
Coach Amal Dutta was understandably satisfied. “My team would have won today if I had the services of the Nigerian striker who is with us but hasn’t been able to sign yet,” Dutta said with typical arrogance.
Branding Mohun Bagan as too much Barreto-dependent, Dutta dismissed their title-winning prospects. “East Bengal are a far superior team… don’t think Mohun Bagan will be able to stretch them.”
Dutta defended the ultra-defensive strategy he adopted Tuesday. “I have a Dulal Biswas who got injured and had to go out, one Jayanta Sen and a Kalyan Chowbey… the rest are all untested youngsters who will take time to settle down.
“When I am fighting with such a unit against a team like Mohun Bagan, I have to organise my defence first,” said the man who brought about a revolution in Indian soccer with the Mohun Bagan ‘Diamond’ experiment six seasons ago.
The result left Mohun Bagan coach Aloke Mukherjee dissatisfied but hardly crestfallen. “My team played very well today… despite the opposition having nine men in defence, we still created so many openings. If you can’t convert even one of the dozen chances, you will obviously end up with a draw.”
Aloke was happy with the way his defence shaped up. “They are improving all the time and were very compact today.”