Mohun Bagan got their first home win of the season on Sunday as they beat Shillong Lajong 2-0 in an I-League 2018-19 clash at the Salt Lake stadium.
Yuta Kinowaki and Henry Kisekka were on target in the second half to clinch a crucial win for Mohun Bagan and keep them in the title race.
Although the win brought great relief in the Green and Maroon camp, it came at a cost. Two important players, Sourav Das and Kinowaki, had to leave the field midway due to hamstring and groin injuries respectively.
Das left the field in the first itself, while Kinowaki came out just after the hour mark. Mehtab Hossain and Darren Caldeira took their places in the central midfield.
Both Das and Kinowaki has been a mainstay in the Bagan midfield since the beginning of the league and have been producing quality performances.
The Kolkata club had already lost three important players Sony Norde, Pintu Mahata and Sukhdev Singh due to injuries. Now the midfielders’ injuries adds on to their misery.
Mehtab Hossain has appeared in only two matches in the I-League so far and a lack of match practice was clearly visible in his performance last evening. Mehtab is nowhere close to being the player he used to be.
Even Sankarlal Chakraborty was sceptical about Hossain’s form. After the match, he had said, “This happens when you don’t play matches regularly. Mehtab needs to work harder in training.”
Mohun Bagan next face a very tough opponent in NEROCA FC on Friday away from home. With Darren Caldeira and an out-of-form Mehtab in their midfield, Sankarlal’s side will have a tough time against speedy players like Katsumi Yusa, Subhas Singh and Malemngamba Meitei.
While the midfield remains an area of concern for the Kolkata giants, Henry Kisekka and Omar Elhusseiny’s good form will give the Mariners some confidence.
Kisekka has been impressive ever since Sankarlal used him on the left flank. Kisekka’s ability to create chances has been harnessed well by the Mohun Bagan coach. Omar too has increased the mobility of the team in attacking third since moving to the number 10 role.
It will be interesting to see how Mohun Bagan fare against a strong NEROCA outfit away from home with a shaky midfield and a stable attack.