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March 26, 2012 6:30 PM IST
 

Air India 2-2 Mohun Bagan: The Airmen dent the Mariners title aspirations

Inspite of a late surge by Mohun Bagan, it was not enough as Odafa and co. return with only a point after a Manandeep brace had put Air India in the driver's seat...

By Kaustav Bera

Mohun Bagan
AIFF
Mohun Bagan were held to a 2-2 draw against Air India at the Balewadi Sports Complex in Pune.

The Mariners went ahead after Manish Maithani's wayward shot took a wicked deflection off Lamine Tamba in the 20th minute. Air India replied instantly through Manandeep Singh just a minute later, who then doubled his tally in the 40th minute to give his team the lead. Mohun Bagan finally equalized in the 60th minute but the match ended in a stalemate.

Subrata Bhattacharya paired up Sunil Chhetri with Odafa Okolie up front with Snehasish Chakraborty and Manish Maithani patrolling the wings. Shilton Paul lined up as the Green and Maroon's custodian.

Santosh Kashyap started with a foreign centre back pairing of Lamine Tamba and Emmanuel Anosike and also played Japanese playmaker Takayuki Omi as the creative force in the midfield. Manandeep Singh was asked to spearhead the attack for the home team.

The match started off with the Mariners looking to stamp their superiority. They almost succeeded as Odafa took a snapshot but it was wide of Pawan Kumar's post. Odafa was again at the forefront as he took another shot just three minutes later which was thankfully blocked for the Airmen.

It was in the 20th minute that finally the deadlock was broken, as Mohun Bagan's Nigerian forward found himself just outside the box after receiving a long ball, and slid the ball to the right to Manish who was making a darting run in support of his striker. Manish's fierce shot was nowhere near the goal, and it was only a heavy deflection off Tamba's leg that allowed the ball to creep in leaving Pawan Kumar stranded.

The Mariners though were hit with the proverbial sucker punch just after the restart as Prakash Thorat did brilliantly on the right to evade Anwar and cross the ball across the goalmouth. Some shoddy defending from the away team gave Manandeep ample time to back volley the ball into the back of the net, inspite of being shadowed by two defenders, who made a hash of the clearance.

The next chance fell to Subrata Bhattacharya's men as Odafa took a shot in the 32nd minute after getting past Tamba, but it was straight at Pawan Kumar.

Then in the 40th minute Manandeep doubled his side's goal tally as the Mariners' defense was found wanting yet again. Prakash Thorat did brilliantly down the left, going past two Bagan defenders and his blocked shot fell to Manandeep in the box. Inspite of being watched by Surkumar Singh, he evaded his attention and lashed a low shot past Shilton Paul to make it 2-1 for the Airmen.

Santosh Kashyap's side looked to continue putting pressure on the away side after the restart. They had two half chances in the form of Manandeep's shot over the bar and Mohammed Shafi's shot saved by the alert Shilton just in the first five minutes.

It was finally in the 60th minute that the Green and Maroon equalized, through who else but Odafa. Sunil Chhetri and Odafa exchanged passes just outside the box, before Odafa sold a dummy to Tamba and then let loose a left footed drive which easily beat Pawan Kumar.

Rejuvenated by Odafa's equaliser, Syed Rahim Nabi and co. looked to get the all important winning goal. It was the Nigerian who was again in the thick of things as just five minutes later, his right footed shot from inside the box just drifted wide while in the 72nd minute he was desperately unlucky as his shot hit the bar and rolled out for a goal kick, after Pawan Kumar was well beaten.

In the 78h minute Okolie had another chance to put the match to bed and gain all three points for Bagan as he expertly attacked Nabi's cross from the left, but his header missed the goal by a whisker.

Sunil Chhetri too got into the thick of things as just five minutes from normal time, he missed a shot from point blank range which could have given the Mariners the much needed win.

However even after a much improved display, a lackluster first half display will mean that the team from Kolkata will have to be content with sharing points with the Airmen.





Air India F.C.

1
Pawan Kumar
Goalkeeper
0.00
15
0.00
6
Lamine Tamba
Defender
20′
0.00
18
Bijoy Basfore
Defender
0.00
-
Kali Alaudeen
Defender
0.00
4
Sandeep Sangha
Midfielder
29′
0.00
15
Takayuki Omi
Midfielder
0.00
9
Mohammed Shafi
Midfielder
88′
0.00
25
0.00
36
0.00

Mohun Bagan A.C.

0.00
22
Shilton Paul
Goalkeeper
0.00
-
0.00
6
0.00
5
Anwar Ali
Defender
32′
0.00
25
0.00
19
0.00
-
N.P. Pradeep
Midfielder
62′
0.00
42
0.00
25
0.00
9
0.00
11

Substitutes

38
Rahul Bheke
Defender
88′
0.00
-
Royston Dsouza
Midfielder
29′
0.00

Substitutes

0.00
12
0.00
34
Manish Bhargav
Midfielder
75′

Coach/Manager

-
0.00

Coach/Manager

0.00
-
 
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  • Goal.com Rating
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Results
 
Top Scorers
Player   Goals Penalties
Cornell Glen Cornell Glen
Striker
Shillong Lajong
14 3
Sunil Chhetri Sunil Chhetri
Striker
Bengaluru
13 3
Darryl Duffy Darryl Duffy
Striker
Salgaocar
13 2
Josimar Josimar
Striker
Mohd Sp
13 1
Ranti Martins Ranti Martins
Striker
Rangdajied
12 0