Sanjoy Sen-coached Mohun Bagan shared the spoils with defending champions Bengaluru FC on Saturday evening at the Kanteerava Stadium. The Kolkata giants were held to a goalless draw with Japanese international Katsumi Yusa's goal disallowed by the referee.
Speaking about the result in the post-match press conference, Mohun Bagan gaffer Sen stated that it was a decent outcome for The Mariners, considering the team were down to ten men in the 69th minute as Subhasish Bose saw a second yellow card. Further, Sen revealed that his side excelled in the initial half but the hosts got the better of them in the latter.
''Ultimately when you look at the aim, considering we were reduced to ten men, it is a good result. We played better in the first half than in the second half. From the kick-off of second half, they (Bengaluru FC) put pressure on us,'' discussed Sen.
The Bagan boss thought the defensive forces did a commendable job in stopping Bengaluru FC from captilazing on the chances they created. He disclosed that the Maroon and Green brigade's aim was to deny The Blues any action from the flanks, which they succeeded in executing.
''They (Bengaluru FC) earned a number of corner kicks and free kicks, but we (Mohun Bagan) defended well. The positive thing (from the result) is our defence because in the last two matches we conceded goals,'' asserted Sen.
''Here (at Bengaluru), our target was to stop the wing play and the boys did well. Bengaluru (FC) didn’t get many chances except for (Eugeneson) Lyngdoh’s chance. They did put pressure, however, we sustained the pressure and defended well,'' he added.
In the 85th minute of the game, Katsumi Yusa's header from a Sony Norde freekick was disallowed after referee CR Srikrishna adjudged him to having fouled Arindam Bhattacharya in the build up. Speaking of the incident, Sen claimed that he is unaware of the reasons for the decision.
''I don’t know why the goal was disallowed. After the goal was scored, the linesman put up the flag. There is no use of complaining. Those who saw the match they are the greater person to say,'' he opined.
Yet another controversy in the tie was when Subashish Bose was given the marching orders by the referee. The 21-year-old stamped on Udanta Singh's boot which was well spotted by the official. This resulted in the left-back being awarded his second yellow during the next stoppage.
On being asked to opine about the decision, Sen remarked, ''I don’t know what to comment because I was sitting too far. I have to talk with Subashish to know what he had done. You can’t help it, the referee was close to him (Subashish Bose), he’s the ultimate decision maker.''
Kanteerava will host the two sides again in three days time, this time in an AFC Cup clash, on 14th March. The ex-Prayag United manager proclaimed that the Kolkata outfit are yet to map out a strategy for the encounter. Moreover, Sen seemed confident on being alive in the title competition despite the goalless affair.
''We haven’t thought of the AFC Cup yet. When we go back to the hotel, we will chalk out a plan. As far as I-League is concerned, Aizawl FC drew, so the position of us remains the same because we played two matches less than other teams. East Bengal also play tomorrow, I still feel we are in the race (for the title),'' he concluded.