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Mohun Bagan v Indian Arrows

I-League 2018-19: Dominating win against Mohun Bagan proves Indian Arrows are on the right track

03:38 GMT 02/03/2019
Mohun Bagan Indian Arrows
Indian Arrows have shown significant improvement in the second half of the season...

From getting beaten 4-1 by Chennai City in the inaugural match of the league campaign to thumping  Mohun Bagan 3-1 at their own backyard in the last league match, this Indian Arrows side have taken significant strides this season.

Rome was not built in a day and this team's success is not an overnight phenomenon. They have struggled and suffered in their initial matches and have climbed the ladder of development one step at a time.

In the first couple of matches, they were playing attractive quick passing football by pouring a number of players in the attacking third but this strategy left them vulnerable at the back. And as a result, they conceded 12 goals in their first six matches.

There was also the problem that the team just could not see out matches, often conceding late goals. After losing NEROCA 3-0 back in December, they managed to shore up that aspect and lost by a margin of more than a goal just once in the next 14 matches.

It was important to get back to the basics and focus on their strengths to find their mojo back. Head coach Floyd Pinto made some crucial changes to the side but most importantly, he made sure that the team's defensive organisation improved.

Deploying Deepak Tangri as a defensive midfielder alongside Amarjit Singh was a masterstroke. This not only provided some much-needed balance but also added steel in midfield. Most I-League teams have an overseas midfielder who controls the game and it was important to find a player who would not allow him to set the tempo of the match.

Tangri did this job to perfection by breaking up play and putting himself about physically which also allowed Amarjit more freedom to manoeuvre. The Mohun Bagan academy graduate was also seen dropping deeper when necessary and play as an extra centre back in 5-4-1 formation, just like he did in the final quarter of the previous match against the Mariners.

Most individuals in the Arrows setup have shown tremendous growth in the course of this season. Anwar Ali has been a rock at the back and has been a consistent performer. His free-kick technique has also caught eyes.

Boris Singh is flourishing as a wide midfielder and was once again brilliant against Mohun Bagan. The manner in which he dodged past Eze Kingsley before setting up Rahul KP speaks volumes of his improvement.

In the attacking third, Rohit Danu and Rahul KP have been outstanding. Danu has scored four times in six appearances and has been prolific in front of goal. His intelligent movements in and around the box help him reach goal scoring positions and his ability to convert makes him a prized asset of Indian football.

Rahul has used his pace and guile to get the better of opposition centre backs time and again. He handed a tough time to Kingsley on Thursday and was a nightmare to Gokulam Kerala's Daniel Addo in the reverse fixture.

Now, it is important to keep the head down and continue working hard, keeping in sight the upcoming AFC U19 qualifiers later this year. There's no room for complacency and only undeterred perseverance will help the youngsters achieve success at the continental stage.