7.1.2012, Calcutta: Goalkeepers are called the last line of defence because of the simple fact that beyond them, there is disaster. More often than not, it is almost impossible to recover from goalkeeping goof-ups.
Unfortunately for Kingfisher East Bengal, the Saturday afternoon Derby failed to be an exception. Sandip Nandy’s porous ’keeping cost East Bengal a 0-2 defeat in the Calcutta Football League clash against forever foes McDowell Mohun Bagan.
East Bengal remain stranded on 18 points from seven matches and still have three games to ensure the trophy.
Okolie Odafe was the first to benefit from Sandip’s howler as Bagan took the lead in the 22nd minute. Syed Rahim Nabi played a square pass to Odafe on the right. The Nigerian then dodged past Mehtab Hussain before unleashing a left-footer, which seemed to catch everyone by surprise. Sandip, however, should have effected a clean collection given the position he was in. But he fumbled and the ball rolled past the dreaded line.
Stunned after conceding the early goal, two things could have happened — it could have spurred East Bengal or it could have punctured their confidence.
Hudson Lima sent a curling free-kick inside the East Bengal box. Perhaps on some other day Sandip might have charged out from his blocks to fist the ball away. But, as designed by fate, on Saturday he remained stranded as he saw the 19-year old Bhargav, who was left unmarked by the East Bengal defenders, head home his third goal in as many matches.
The goal seemed to sap the life out of East Bengal players. Under an unusually cloudy sky on a January afternoon, Trevor James Morgan’s wards seemed like wayward school-kids as Bagan took complete control of the match.
In fact, the Bagan players were fantastic and were clinical in their display. There was a purpose in their football and they were outstanding in all departments, embarrassing the listless champions. The main architect of Bagan’s victory, however, was not ‘inside’ the ground. It was technical director Subrata Bhattacharya’s master strokes from the sidelines which was the winning ‘goal’.
In fact, East Bengal should be thanking their fortunes for escaping a 0-4 humiliation as Mohun Bagan missed two sitters early in the second-half.
The match, meanwhile, was incident free with Uzbek World Cupper referee Ravshan Irmatov having control on the proceedings. A winner there too…
Mohun Bagan: Sangram Mukherjee, Syed Rahim Nabi, Anwar Ali, Kinshuk Debnath, N. Mohanraj (R. Dhanarajan 20’), Jewel Raja (Jose Ramirez Barreto 78’), Daniel Zeleny, Rakesh Masih, Hudson Lima (Snehashish Chakraborty 56’), Manish Bhargav, Odafe Okolie
East Bengal: Sandip Nandy, Nirmal Chetri, Uga Okpara, Gurwinder Singh, Saumik Dey (Baljit Sahni 56’), Sanju Pradhan (R. Vashum, 54’), Penn Orji, Mehtab Hussain, Harmanjyot Khabra (Khantang Paite 57’), Tolgay Ozebe, Seiminlen Doungel.
Referee: Ravshan Irmatov
Here are the match videos: