Calcutta: The start was not startling, like it was for Kingfisher East Bengal, but McDowell Mohun Bagan would not be overjoyed either with how they began their season.
Bagan struggled to a 1-0 victory over Tollygunge Agragami, in a Sahara CFL Premier Division Championship Round match, at the Salt Lake Stadium, on Monday. There would be satisfaction for earning full points, but there will also be concern about the missed chances, the poor overall agility of the team and the lack of creativity in the midfield.
Jeje Lalpekhlua got the all-important goal in the 43rd minute when he converted a penalty kick. Jeje was brought down inside the box by Tollygunge defender Dipak Mondal.
Had it not been for the penalty, Bagan, perhaps, wouldn’t have got full points.
Bagan looked rusty and technical director Subhash Bhowmick will have to work overtime to turn this outfit into an well-oiled machine. Apart from Japanese Katsumi Yusa, none of the others looked creative enough to weave moves. There was no dearth of effort from the Manish Bhargavs, but hard work is not always intelligent.
At least five good chances — two each by Balwant Singh and CS Sabeeth and one by Jeje— were messed up near the goalmouth.
Tollygunge, who have roped in Subrata Bhattacharya as the technical director, had their moments, but couldn’t seize them. Daniel Bidemi and Koko Sakibo looked threatening, but couldn’t convert that into reality. And they paid the penalty for that.
Mohun Bagan: Shilton Paul, Shouvik Ghosh, Kinshuk Debnath, Dhanachandra Singh, Satish Singh, Manish Bhargav (Balwant Singh, 46), Sehnaj Singh, Katsumi Yusa, Souvik Chakraborty (Lalkamal Bhowmick, 46), Jeje Lalpekhlua, Sabeeth Sathyan (Tirthankar Sarkar, 90)
Tollygunge Agragami: Raju Ganguly, Dipak Mondal, Saikat Saha Roy (Suman Chandra Dey, 83), Surabuddin Mallick (Arjun Chatterjee, 66), Sheikh Azim, Dipendu Dowary, Tarun Taneja (Gopal Debnath, 46), Goutam Thakur, Mohan Sarkar, Daniel Bidemi, Koko Sakibu
MoM: Katsumi Yusa
Referee: Pranjal Banerjee