I-League: Bagan 'Two' Good For East Bengal

Sunday, 21 January 2018|Abhishek Mukherjee

Mohun Bagan proved to be 'Two' good for rivals East Bengal as they completed a dominating 0-2 win in the ongoing I-League clash at the Salt Lake Stadium on Sunday (21, January).

Dipanda Dicka's brace (1', 34') put a dent to East Bengal's hopes of lifting the I-League trophy and silenced his critics in the process.

Both coaches made three changes to their line-up from their last game. Former I-League winning striker Akram Moghrabi made his debut for Mohun Bagan while Shilton Paul, Sheikh Faiaz returned to the squad. On the other hand, Mohammed Rafique, Willis Plaza returned to the playing XI for East Bengal and Nigerian Dudu Omagbemi made his first start after returning to East Bengal.

East Bengal, who needed a win to keep their title hopes alive, got off to the worst possible start as they conceded in the 1st minute itself. Bagan's Nikhil Kadam floated in a cross from the right which was initially headed by Akram Moghrabi in the path of Dipanda Dicka, who blasted the ball in the back of the net-drawing first blood for the Mariners.

To make matters worse, East Bengal's midfield maestro Mahmoud Al Amna had to be substituted in the 4th minute, owing to an injury.

East Bengal failed it hard to cope up with Bagan's hard-pressing game as the likes of Raynier Fernandes, Cameron Watson and Nikhil Kadam were bossing proceedings.

East Bengal, however, pulled off a goal through Willis Plaza in the 24th minute but had to be disallowed as the ball had gone out of play in the first place.

Bagan squashed East Bengal's hopes for a comeback in the 34th minute when Dipanda Dicka scored an absolute screamer of a goal from a Raynier Fernandes corner.

Bagan could have increased their lead in the additional minutes of the first half through Nikhil Kadam but Luis Baretto came to East Bengal's rescue as he made a fine diving save.

At half-time the scoreline read 2-0 in favour of Bagan.

Upon resumption, East Bengal came out all guns blazing- drawing a lot of bodies forward. They wasted a golden chance to reduce the deficit in the 50th minute when an unmarked Md Rafique, just yards away from goal, failed to make proper contact with a low cross from Katsumi.

East Bengal's tactics of putting a lot of bodies forward left them prone to counter attacks and Bagan took full advantage of it. Lebanese forward Akram Moghrabi himself squandered three golden opportunities as East Bengal's early dominance of the second half fizzled out fast.

On the other hand, Bagan custodian Shilton Paul hardly had a drop a sweat as he made the first proper save in the 64th minute.

The shoulders in the Red and Gold's camp dropped towards the end of the second-half as Bagan ran them ragged. However, Bagan's failure to convert easy chances meant that the scoreline remained unchanged at full-time.

With the help of this win, Bagan climbed to the 4th spot in the league standings with 16 points from 10 matches while East Bengal remained at the 3rd position with 19 points from 11 games.


MOTM- Dipanda Dicka.