Calcutta: The mostly unknown faces of the Mohammedan Sporting players perhaps glowed brighter than the floodlights of the Salt Lake Stadium on Sunday as they celebrated their 2-1 victory over McDowell Mohun Bagan, whose superiority as a team faded into the sunset.
So what if Bagan technical director Subhas Bhowmick doesn’t consider a match against Mohammedan Sporting to be a Derby? For the players in black and white, it was much more than a Derby.
One’s not sure when was the last time that Mohammedan Sporting humbled both East Bengal and Bagan in a CFL season.
For those who thought their triumph over East Bengal was just a flash in the pan, Sunday’s result was confirmation that the fallen giants of the Maidan are playing good football this season.
Bagan began as favourites and took the lead through Sathyan Sabeeth. But as the match progressed, Mohammedan Sporting gained ground and ultimately logged full points with goals from Somide Adelaja and Sunil Kumar.
The win took Mohammedan Sporting to 12 points from five matches, trailing table toppers Tollygunge Agragami on goal difference. Bagan with nine points from four games are third in the CFL Premier Division Championship Round standings.
Sabeeth’s goal came in the 23rd minute. Bagan’s Sehnaj Singh curved in a free-kick from the right and the ball fell to Sabeeth’s feet after rival ’keeper Arnab Das Sharma misjudged the flight. Sabeeth pushed it into an empty net.
But quite unexpectedly, the match turned in Mohammedan Sporting’s favour after that.
In the 44th minute, Bagan goalkeeper Shilton Paul failed to collect a ball after colliding with his defender Kinshuk Debnath. Adelaja, who was lurking nearby thumped it home for the equaliser.
Then, in the 62nd minute, Bagan conceded a free-kick on the edge of the box. The defensive wall and Shilton watched helplessly as Sunil’s powerful right-footer crashed into the left corner of the goal.
Basically, Mohammedan Sporting are building their season on three pillars — fantastic fitness, an able striker in Adelaja and the never-say-die attitude of a young brigade.
Understandably, coach Fuja Tope sounds confident.
“It was my dream as a coach to beat East Bengal and Baganů I know the strength of my team and my boys are always willing to give their best.”
Mohammedan Sporting: Arnab Das Sharma, Sukhdev Murmu, Sunil Kumar, Ugochukwu Godswill, Rajiv Ghosh, Basanta Singh, Phoolchand Hembram, Gaur Naskar (Kazi Qutubuddin, 75), Bijay Maddi, Ashim Biswas (Waseem Raja, 32), Somide Adelaja (Alfred Jaryan, 88)
Mohun Bagan: Shilton Paul, Shouvik Ghosh, Kinshuk Debnath, Dhanachandra Singh, Satish Singh, Souvik Chakraborty (Pankaj Moula, 50), Katsumi Yusa, Sehnaj Singh (Lalkamal Bhowmick, 80), Balwant Singh (Ram Malik, 66), Sathyan Sabeeth, Pierre Boya
MoM: Somide Adelaja
Referee: Prabir Dhar