Calcutta: Mohammedan Sporting injected fresh life into the Super Division League on Sunday by shocking East Bengal 2-1 in a championship leg match at Salt Lake Stadium.
The stunning result handed Mohun Bagan a lifeline. If Bagan win their remaining four matches, East Bengal will be forced into a play-off final against their arch-rivals.
However, if the East Bengal coach was angry with his wards, he was successful in concealing it while interacting with the media.
“It happens. Every team loses, and if you are looking to achieve something, you have to accept that there will be hurdles. I would have been happy had this not happened. But it has and we have to plan afresh,” said Subhas Bhowmick.
“Maybe complacency had crept in somewhere in our approach, but that can’t be an excuse. We lost to a team that was better than us today. They were more purposeful. We have to assess ourselves and get on with it.”
Asked whether he is worried about the prospect of meeting Mohun Bagan in a play-off final, Bhowmick said: “Even last year we won the title in the final after surrendering a big lead.”
Mohammedan Sporting coach Mohammed Habeeb confessed he will have some good sleep after a long time. “We have had a poor run of late and I was under pressure. This is a big relief… One of the most important wins in my coaching career.
“I was hardly being able to sleep peacefully. This win takes a lot off me”
The hero of the day was 18-year-old Abdul Rauf Khan, who surprised the formidable East Bengal defence with a mesmerising run before scoring the winner, dedicated his effort to his mentor, the late Krishanu Dey.
“He (Krishanu) brought me to mainstream football, in FCI, three seasons back. This goal is a tribute to him.”
Mohun Bagan skipper Rennedy Singh said his team has a chance but can’t take anything for granted. “Today’s result means there can be many more ups and downs still. We will take one match at a time, in the knowledge that all four are going be tough ones.”