| East Bengal ’keeper Sangram Mukherjee gets coach Subhas Bhowmick’s pat on the back after the Super Division play-off final on Sunday. Picture by Santosh Ghosh
Calcutta: After East Bengal scraped past Mohun Bagan via the tie-breaker on a 6-5 aggregate in the IFA League Super Division play-off final at the Salt lake Stadium Sunday, the only word winning coach Subhas Bhowmick said about his players was “disgusting”.
“This is really disgusting,” he said. “Never in my life, whether it be during my playing days or in my coaching career, did I have to go through like this off such an easy match. I never criticise my players, but after today’s performance I must say that the players do not deserve the East Bengal jersey if they play like this and miss such incredible chances.”
The coach was livid that the goal came off such a “silly mistake by the defence” and by goalkeeper Sangram Mukherjee’s callousness. He also said “kudos to the Mohun Bagan players that they were able to hold us so long and were even able to go ahead with the team they have.”
He said he noticed that Bhaichung Bhutia and Mahesh Gawli’s form has dipped sharply after the national team experience. “I will have to see how the national team stay has affected these players negatively.”
“You know, it’s difficult to explain. My coaching wasn’t working here,” fumed Bhowmick. He marched his players to the team bus directly, avoiding the dressing room altogether. Part of the hurry was also because a few among the team left for New Delhi late in the evening and because on Monday the rest fly out for the Durand Cup. They play on Tuesday.
Mohun Bagan coach Aloke Mukherjee said he was happy with his wards’ performance. “So many pundits had written us off for this match. You could have been a great player one day, but in an East Bengal-Mohun Bagan match the equations are always different,” said the coach.
“I told you that a fit Ashim Biswas was always dangerous,” he said, “and he showed us how.”
This was Biswas’ first goal in a big match following his transfer from Tollygunge Agragami, busting the myth that the striker chokes in big matches.
He said he was dissatisfied with Fifa referee Kamaleswaran Shankar of Tamil Nadu for “some strange decisions.” There was this occasion when Suley Musah fouled Marcos Parreira in the box. That was a clear penalty,” said Mukherjee.
The team gets a well-deserved rest now, having said no to the Durand Cup, waiting to recover from the Haldia Airlines Cup nightmare.
East Bengal: Sangram Mukherjee, Sur Kumar Singh, Suley Musah, Mahesh Gawli, Subhashis Roy Chowdhury (K. Kulothungan, 85), Sasthi Duley (Subhas Chakraborty, 95), Dipankar Roy (Shylo Malsawmtluanga. 35), Debjit Ghosh, Alvito D’Cunha, Mike Okoro, Bhaichung Bhutia.
Mohun Bagan: Bilifang Narzary (Imran Khan, 115), Manitombi Singh, Sanjeev Maria, Harpreet Singh, Lolendra Singh, Mehtab Hossain, Palash Karmakar, Rishi Kapoor (Sunil Chhetri, 111), Rennedy Singh, Marcos Parreira, Ashim Biswas (Rocas Lamare, 75).
Referee: Kamaleswaran Shankar (T.N.)