Mohun Bagan are still suffering from their finishing fallacies from the Kolkata derby...
Mohun Bagan were held to a goal-less draw by Mohammedan Sporting at the Salt Lake Stadium, Kolkata in a round eleven I-League clash on Wednesday.
Karim Bencherifa made three changes in his squad from the one that lost to East Bengal. Goalkeeper Shilton Paul was replaced by Sandip Nandy while Sathyan Sabeeth made way for Manish Bhargav. Anyichie Echezona came into the team after having served his suspension with Rowilson Rodrigues sacrificed.
Aziz Moshood meanwhile gave Syed Rahim Nabi first start in this season’s I-League while electing to go for a 4-4-1-1 formation with Tolgay Ozbey playing the lone striker upfront, supported by Penn Orji behind him in a roving midfield role.
It was Mohammedan Sporting who started the match on a positive note while Mohun Bagan were looking a bit sluggish after the disappointing derby defeat.
However it was the Mariners who had the first chance of the day as Odafa Okolie held up the ball brilliantly on the left flank before laying it off to Eric Muranda whose left footed shot on the run almost grazed the far corner in the sixth minute.
It was then a clutch of chances for Odafa but he failed to convert any. First it was in the 13th minute when he had made space for himself in the box before smashing the shot aimlessly over the bar.
In the 40th minute, Kingshuk Debnath found Odafa who chested and shot on his second touch which once again missed the target. Immediately after, it was Odafa again who failed to beat Luis Barreto with a towering header after Manish Bhargav had laid Ishfaq Ahmed for dead down the right before crossing it for the Nigerian. Denson Devadas who was lurking in the box too failed to capitalize on the rebound.
In between the only chance for Mohammedan was when a bad Aiborlang Khongjee pass was intercepted by Anthony Soren who played it on for Penn Orji. The Nigerian midfielder’s chip from an acute angle from the left did not trouble Sandip Nandy in goal.
Mohun Bagan had a hat-trick of chances as the half worn down. First it was Odafa who played Eric Muranda on, down the left who tried to chip Luis Barreto to no avail. Then it was a set of brilliant crosses from the right first by Manish Bhargav and then by Pritam Kotal which no Green and Maroon player could get to.It was status quo yet again as the second half began. Odafa showed brilliant control to receive the ball, beating the attention of Luciano Sobrosa and then cut in but his shot is weak and went straight to Luis Barreto.
It was Mohammedan however who showed impetus as Tolgay was found out beautifully by Masih's long searching ball. The Australian beat Echezona for pace but the Nigerian recovered well to put in a brilliant tackle in to deny him from taking a shot.
In the 68th minute, it was Penn whose first time shot from the edge of the box after a great surging run down the right by Collin Abranches, went wide.
The very next minute saw Katsumi Yusa, who received the ball from Odafa, turned his marker brilliantly but his shot left a lot to be desired as it looped over the bar.
In the dying seconds of the match, Mohammedan could have gone away with all three points as Josimar broke with speed. Aibor put in a last ditch tackle but only managed to guide the ball into the path of Ajay Singh who only had the onrushing Sandip Nandy to beat. But the former JCT striker shot aimlessly - much to the disappointment of the Mohammedan fans.
The game ended with the two teams earning a point each,
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