The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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PK made the difference: Dipendu

Calcutta: Just the other day, Subhas Bhowmick had talked of P.K. Banerjee’s ‘vocal tonic’ and what a difference it can make to a team. It was Mohammedan Sporting’s turn to benefit from the PK tonic on Tuesday, the team to suffer being Mohun Bagan.

Captain Dipendu Biswas said ‘PK sir’ had made a world of difference to the team. “The way he motivated us prior to the match was quite brilliant,” the striker said after his team edged out Mohun Bagan 5-4 via the tie-breaker.

The man himself revealed he had a few special words for his boys before they took the field. “History beckons you, but you will have to give some qurbani to be a part of it,” was how the technical adviser had egged on Dipendu & Co.

And he was delighted to see the boys take his advice. “They gave their all and followed every move suggested by me. I’m happy they made the final,” PK said.

Iqbal Shahnawaz Khan was the ‘policeman’ who made Jose Ramirez Barreto look like a passenger on Tuesday.

“I told him to keep an eye on Barreto’s turn to the right just after he gets the ball. And I must say, Iqbal did a wonderful job.”

It was a similar PK move that had made a hero out of an unknown Sunirmal Chakraborty some 18 years ago. The master tactician had employed Chakraborty as the marker for game-maker Prasanta Banerjee in the 1985 Federation Cup final. PK’s East Bengal beat Mohun Bagan 1-0 that day, Prasanta being rendered completely ineffective.

PK, however, feels Mohammedan Sporting should have wrapped it up in regulation time itself.

“The advice was to catch them napping. They came so near in regulation time…”

PK, though, feels the job is half done. “They will have to do it once again on Saturday. And I’m sure they will be up to it.”

Mohammedan Sporting await the winner of Wednesday’s Vasco-Mahindra clash.

Habeeb tension

Coach Mohammed Habeeb couldn’t take the tie-breaker tension, going away to the dressing-room to avoid watching his boys take the penalty kicks.

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