Federation Cup 2017: East Bengal’s Exit- 5 Things We Learned

Friday, 19 May 2017|Chirayato Banerjee

The final two teams have been decided for the 38th edition of the Federation Cup. Mohun Bagan will face off against Bengaluru FC after the former inflicted a 2-0 defeat on arch rivals East Bengal. The Calcutta derby had added significance as it was the second semi final of the tournament.

East Bengal continued their disappointing run against their cross town rivals and bowed down to two brilliant goals from Daryl Duffy and Balwant Singh.

Here are 5 things we learned from the second semi final held at the Barabati Stadium, Cuttack.

#5 East Bengal need a top draw striker for the next season

Throughout the 90 minutes, East Bengal had the upper hand as they played the game in a seamless fashion. Stringing passes, incisive crosses-everything fell in place apart from the much elusive goal. It was all finesse and no finish from the talismanic striker Willis Deon Plaza.

The Trinidad and Tobago international missed scores of sitters and his team had to pay for the same. Guilt edged chances went begging as the 29-year old cut a sorry figure at the Barabati stadium. He may be supremely talented but if a striker misses to count for his team then it is imperative that the team replaces him.

Plaza had showed great promise in his first outing for the Red and Golds back in January this year. Since then, his form waned and his struggles became evident. It is time East Bengal officials sort out the team selection woes and sign a replacement striker as soon as possible.

#4 Mohun Bagan had a tried and tested squad which is missing in case of East Bengal

It was a torrid time for the Mariners as they tried to contain an upbeat East Bengal side. They were reduced to frantic clearances and chasing shadows in the first half. But when it counted, they hit hard on the break. The pace with which they counterattacked after clearing their lines dazed the East Bengal defence.

A hurrah of quick passing had opened up the play for the Green and Maroons and they scored twice from such frenetic counterattacks. Although the initial momentum was with the Red and Golds, Mohun Bagan held their nerves and soaked up the pressure. Their players were adept at handling all that the East Bengal side threw at them.

The entire team seemed to be at ease in all the departments and the coordination between the offence and defence was noteworthy. The heavily armoured defence and central midfield moved the ball quickly and did not allow any leeway to the opposition in the attacking third.

#3 Playing attractive football does not guarantee a victory

East Bengal were clearly the better side on that night and deserved to go home with a win. However, the game of football does not always work that way. The better team might not go on to win the match always. As was seen, Ranjan Chaudhuri’s men failed to find the back of the net inspite of their imperious attacking play. They tore open the Bagan defence on numerous occasions but could not land the killer blow for once.

Consequently, the Mariners took advantage of the same and scored two goals against the run of play. East Bengal played with alacrity but lacked the instinct to damage the opposition. Mohun Bagan, on the other hand, were clumsy with their long ball clearances, but when it mattered, Bagan afflicted heavy costs on the East Bengal defence.

#2 Sitting back and soaking up the pressure confused East Bengal

East Bengal tried a number of ways to break the deadlock but failed to score. They attacked from the channels with Mohammed Rafique and Bikash Jairu delivering precise crosses. They tried to cut through the central defence with penetrative passes and long balls. But there was nobody to apply the finishing touches to an otherwise brilliant attacking display.

As this continued, the Red and Golds ran out of ideas and that is when Mohun Bagan struck. Seeing their efforts being thwarted, East Bengal had planned to raid the oppositon box with increased men in the other half. This ploy backfired as Bagan scored two goals as the other team was caught napping in the defence.

It was Bagan’s effective defending which extinguished the flame from the East Bengal side. They huffed and puffed but could not break down the adroit defence of Eduardo and co. Consequently, the likes of Katsumi Yusa, Sony Norde, Daryl Duffy and Balwant Singh combined well to land the suckerpunch on the East Bengal side.

#1 Counter-attacks from Mohun Bagan were more productive than the repeated slow attacks from East Bengal

Although the Red and Golds came down heavily with their offensive play, it was Mohun Bagan who held their sway and emerged victorious. Thus, an effective strategy to attack from the outset backfired and fell flat on its face. On the other hand, Mohun Bagan contained the relentless attacks and sprung into action as and when the situation warranted.

This was a tactical win for Coach Sanjoy Sen who trumped his counterpart Ranjan Chowdhury twice this season. A master tactician, Sen read the opposite side’s gameplan to a T and executed his counter moves brilliantly. It was not the better team but the strategically sound team which triumphed in the Calcutta derby this season.