Score : 1 - 0
Team: Sangram Mukherjee, Jewel Raja, Surkumar Singh, Rahim Nabi, Dhanarajan, Daniell Zeleny, Rakesh Masih, Kingshuk Debnath, Sunil Chhetri, Jose Ramirez Barreto (C), Odafa Okolie,
MB Goals: Odafa Okolie ( 22 min ).
MB Cards : Jewel Raja ( 82 min ) , Jose Ramirez Barreto ( 92 min ) .
Replacements: Rakesh Masih ( out - 46 ), Snehashish Chakraborty ( in - 46 ),
Mariners retain second spot after Derby win (MMB v/s EB)21-Nov, 2011
Kolkata , 20-Nov, 2011 :
McDowell Mohun Bagan registered a win in their 6th round match of I-League 2011-12 when they beat Kingfisher East Bengal 1-0 in a match played at the Salt Lake Stadium. With this win, McDowell Mohun Bagan remained in the 2nd position with 15 points from 6 matches, 3 points behind Dempo Sports Club, while arch rivals East Bengal slipped to the 6th position in the table.
The high voltage match played under floodlights was witnessed by a crowd of 1,00,000 fans. Impressed by the atmosphere Siddhartha Mallya, who watched the match from the VVIP Box, tweeted: â€œForget the Manchester derby, the Milan derby and the London derby, this is where its at...The Calcutta derby!! Open-top vans with Mohun Bagan and East Bengal fans waving flags all over!! Really excited about this!!".
This was the first time a Derby was organized by McDowell Mohun Bagan and the officials passed the acid test with flying colours. The crowd present to witness the first derby of the season witnessed, for the first time, at the Salt Lake Stadium, companies of police standing inside the premises facing the gallery. Although we have seen the police monitor crowd behavior and face the gallery while a match is going on during similar instances across Europe or Latin America, this was the first time such a thing happened in Kolkata. Credit should be definitely given to the McDowell Mohun Bagan officials for the way they set a benchmark on how to organize a high-profile match successfully. Even after the match when 2 supporters got injured while getting out of the ground from Gate No. 1, McDowell Mohun Bagan officials quickly reached the scene and admitted the injured supporters to AMRI Hospital and decided to pay all the medical expenses of those supporters.
A couple of days ago, General Secretary of McDowell Mohun Bagan, Anjan Mitra did send a letter to Sports Minister, Madan Mitra and stated that "We regret to inform you that we have come to know from reliable sources that our efforts, to make this event successful, might be sabotaged, in an attempt to tarnish our organizational abilities and the prestige of the State. There might be accidental floodlight failure before, during or after the match, the backup generator might fail and also there could be general non-cooperation from certain people or groups." As was feared by Mr. Mitra and other McDowell Mohun Bagan officials, the lights at the stadium went off 4 minutes before the end of the match and the match was stopped for 20 minutes before it restarted.
Technical Director Subrata Bhattacharya devised a new strategy in today's match as Mariners played in 4-3-2-1 formation with Sangram Mukherjee as goalkeeper. New Australian stopper Daniel Zeleny made his debut for McDowell Mohun Bagan as he played with Kingshuk Debnath in the heart of the defense, while Surkumar Singh and Dhanarajan played as right and left back respectively. Jewel Raja, Rakesh Masih and Rahim Nabi played in the midfield. Odafa was the lone striker with both Sunil Chhetri and Jose Barreto operating from a little deep.
Daniel Zeleny looked confident from the start as he nicely cleared a cross of Sanjay Pradhan to avert danger within the initial minutes. Rahim Nabi, who continued with his brilliant form today, earned a corner outside the opponent box when he was tripped from behind, but the resultant free kick got cleared by Okpara. Penn took a shot at McDowell Mohun Bagan goal but it went wide.
McDowell Mohun Bagan got a penalty in the 21st minute. From Odafa's pass, Sunil Chhetri tried to dribble past Uga Okpara, but Sunil was tackled from behind by Okpara and the referee pointed towards the penalty spot. Odafa coolly slotted the ball home, giving Mariners the lead.
Minutes later, Odafa set up Barreto with a nice through-ball but Barreto's first touch let him down and his shot from an acute angle went over the target. Surkumar took a great free kick but his powerful shot unluckily got deflected off a Mohun Bagan player to go out. Both teams made some good moves but the score remained the same at half time. Kingshuk Debnath was definitely the best player on the defense as he played one of the best match of his career today.
At the start of the second half. Subrata brought in Snehasish Chakraborty in place of Rakesh Masih. McDowell Mohun Bagan moved to the traditional 4-4-2 position with Sunil and Odafa in the forward line. Jewel Raja and Jose Barreto played in the central midfield in the second half while Snehasish and Rahim Nabi were in charge of the flanks. Initially, Jewel Raja started playing as the holding medio but midway down the half, Barreto moved back to Jewel's position. This was a big gamble taken by Bablu Da but it paid off as Barreto played brilliant football in second half. He showed why he is an invaluable asset to the club with his superb snatching, blocking, distribution as well as accurate passing.
In the 47th minute, from Surkumar's free kick, Nabi's header narrowly missed the target. Sangram Mukherjee showed great form in the second half as he made at least 3 good saves to deny Kingfisher East Bengal from scoring. From Naoba's cross, unmarked Vashum's header went over the crossbar. Robin Singh's cross got deflected off Dhanarajan's towards Sanjay Pradhan but his shot was brilliantly saved by Sangram Mukherjee.
Rahim Nabi, who made some darting runs down the flank today, made yet another great run in the 67th minute. After getting a pass from Barreto, Nabi dribbled past a couple of players inside the Kingfisher East Bengal box but initated a cross a bit late and eventually his backpass towards Surkumar Singh got cleared.
Sangram was again in the thick of action as he prevented Baljit's shot from going in from handshaking distance of the post. McDowell Mohun Bagan got the best chance of the half around the 80th minute mark. From Odafa's brilliant pass, Sunil Chhetri missed the easiest chance of the match for Mariners as his hurriedly-taken left-footed shot missed the mark by an inch.
4 minutes before the final whistle, the match was held for around 20 minutes due to power cut as the floodlights went out. After play resumed, Odafa, Barreto and Nabi combined nicely to make a good move but eventually Okpara cleared the ball out safely.
Jewel Raja and Jose Barreto were shown yellow card towards the fag end of the match and both of them will miss the next I-League match against Prayag United.
Kingfisher East Bengal put lot of pressure on the Mariner defense in the second half, but Sangram and his soldiers looked rock solid and did not concede any goal today.
Although Barreto played great football in the central defence, especially as the holding medio, he should play as the striking partner of Odafa Okolie; only then will a lot of pressure build up for the opponents.
Sangram Mukherjee was rightly adjudged the Man of the Match for his brilliant performance, but it could have gone to Kingshuk Debnath, too.
Subrata Bhattacharya deserve a big credit for this victory. When he took charge just before start of the I-League, confidence of the players was very low to say the least, but he infused the necessary motivation among the players which, coupled with his brilliant tactical moves and match reading abilities, completely transformed the team's performance and raised the morale of the players to great heights which helped Mariners to fall back on their winning ways.
Odafa Okolie is a Nigerian footballer who joined McDowell Mohun Bagan at...