Mohun Bagan managed a disappointing 1-1 draw against Shillong Lajong in their fourth match of the I-League 2017/18 season on Thursday. Lajong, who suffered a humiliating 1-5 defeat against East Bengal last Saturday, came back strongly to snatch a point against the Green and Maroons.
Dipanda Dicka’s penalty strike gave the home side the lead in the 12th minute but Lajong skipper Lamuanpuia’s 72nd-minute strike from another penalty cancelled Bagan’s lead.
Bagan coach Sanjoy Sen was clearly disappointed with the draw. He said, “This is a part of the game. I told my boys before the match, that the team should never depend on one or two players. The players who are regular starters did the blunders today. Kingsley conceded an unnecessary red card. Kinshuk conceded a silly penalty. Few moments of madness cost us three points.”
Mohun Bagan missed the services of two star players Ansumana Kromah and Sony Norde due to injury.
Ansumana Kromah had said the pre-match press conference yesterday that he was fit and was ready to play against Lajong but the coach felt otherwise and did not even consider him in the 18-man squad.
On omitting Kromah, Sen said, “Kromah wanted to play. But I thought he had a groin injury which may aggravate if he does get enough rest. It was better for him to rest.”
On whether he is disappointed with the result, the coach replied, “Of course I am disappointed. But we are very much in the race for the title. We have played only four matches. I wanted full three points at home. Unfortunately, that did not happen. We have to win away matches now.”
Goalscorer Dipanda Dicka could have netted a hat-trick tonight and confirmed his team’s victory had he been a little more clinical. On his star striker’s performance, the coach mentioned, “Dicka did not take responsibility today. He scored only a penalty goal. He should have been more clinical.”
Lajong boss Bobby Nongbet was understandably happy and satisfied after getting a point from this crucial away match.
Nongbet said, “Yes I am satisfied. After that 5-1 defeat against East Bengal, this was a blessing. It was a difficult job to keep the team together after conceding five goals against East Bengal but I knew that we always had a chance to come back. Both the Kolkata teams were tough opponents.”
The away coach agreed that the absence of Sony Norde and Ansumana Kromah worked as an advantage for his side. “Of course the absence of Sony Norde and Kromah was a great advantage,” said the coach.