to Round 1
Mohun Bagan AC 0:0 Mahindra United
Mohun Bagan: 12-Subroto Pal, 28-Eduardo Chacon Coelho Lacerda, 4-Anbalath Suliman Firoze, 20-Sanjeev Kumar Maria, 7-Tomba Singh, 16-Subashish Roy Chowdhury, 26-Mehraj Din Wadoo (76' 14-Basudeb Mondal), 8-Noel Wilson, 23-Mehtab Hussain, 19-Coffe Edem Agbessi (87' 10-Dipendu Biswas), 24-Sushil Kumar Singh (46' 9-Awudu Ibrahim)
Mahindra: 24-Sandip Nandy, 27-Irungbam Surkumar Singh, 3-Nanjangud Shivananju Manju, 14-Mahesh Gawli, 4-Deepak Kumar Mondal, 23-Steven Dias, 19-David Adjei (58' 28-Krishnan Nair Ajayan), 16-Lukram James Singh (88' 11-Subash Chakraborty), 6-Shanmugam Venkatesh, 8-Jose Ramirez Barreto, 10-Yusif Yakubu
Referee: Abdul Saleem (Delhi)
Yellow Card: Sanjeev Kumar Maria (87' Mohun Bagan)
ONGC Man of the Match Award: Subrata Pal (Mohun Bagan)
Three time former champions Mohun Bagan AC held one of the title favourites Mahindra United to a goalless draw in their 10th National League opener at the Saltlake Stadium, Calcutta. The match marked the return of Brazilian striker Jose Ramirez Barreto to Calcutta for the first time to face his former club Mohun Bagan, where he had had a number of successful seasons before leaving them in haste. Barreto was welcomed to the pitch by the Bagan fans as if he still was one of their players showing their appreciation for the Brazilian, who had won the club two of their NFL titles.
Lacklustre football was on display at the floodlit Saltlake Stadium as the home team took a defensive approach with coach Jahar Das having told his players to ensure that their former star Barreto did not get the ball in the danger zone. Mahindra was the better of the two sides on display with James Singh making a 30 yard effort in the 24.minute which was cleared by Bagan goalkeeper Subrata Pal. Pal had a good day under the bar, which will give him comfidence back after having been heavily criticised for a catastrophic display against East Bengal in the IFA-Shield in late-November. Bagan had their best chance in the 29.minute of a right-footer from captain Mehtab Hussain which went wide. Subrata Pal had to once more come into action when he in the 37.minute well covered the first post to disallow Jose Barreto a goal after he had beaten three Bagan players. Barreto could have sealed the match in the 74.minute, but once more was denied by towering Subrata Pal. In the end both sides played a cautious game with action confined mainly to the middle third.
Post Match Comments:
It was a satisfactory match for my team. I need some more time and I am sure my team will keep on improving.
A team like Mohun Bagan can't be happy with only one point. However, the opposition had strikers like Barreto and Yakubu and three defenders who play for the national team. Considering this, I can say that I'm happy but my mood would have been different if we had got the same result against an inferior team.
My defence was well organised. They have been tested against the best team in the competition and now I can focus on attacking. My defence successfully cut off the connection between their midfielders and strikers and allowed only long balls to be played to the front men. They would have pulverised us had there been a good supply from short passes.
I'd like to thank the team management for including Subarata Paul in the team.
My attacking line will improve once Agbessi and Ibrahim are 100% fit.
Barreto can't give his 100% in any team except Mohun Bagan Ė it seems he is suffering from environmental maladjustment.
Jahar Das (Mohun Bagan coach):
Mohun Bagan started off their NFL campaign with a goalless draw against title contenders Mahindra United of Mumbai. Jahar Das, their coach, said at the post-match press conference:
Derrick Pereira (Mahindra United coach):
It was a good match. We had more possession but the first match is always difficult, that too against a tough team like Mohun Bagan. We need to do better in the future.
They defended very well. Yakubu was hardly given any space and Barreto was also fully marked.
I have lots of options. Iíll try different tactics in the upcoming matches.
We have to try and win every match.
Ajayan had to be brought on late as he was carrying an injury.
Iím disappointed with a single point but considering the fact that it was an away match against former champions Mohun Bagan, it is satisfactory.
I cannot say whether Mohun Bagan is a contender for the title.
I cannot compare the East Bengal and Mohun Bagan teams.
After their inaugural match of the ONGC CUP against formidable opponents Mohun Bagan ended in a goalless draw, Derrick Perira, the Mahindra United coach, seemed a bit disappointed that his team could not take advantage of their dominance on the field. At the post-match press conference, he said: