Mohun Bagan defeated Indian Arrows 2-0 in Goa on Tuesday, keeping their slim hopes alive in the I-League. First-half goals from Aser Dipanda and Akram Moghrabi sealed three points for the Green and Maroons.
The Kolkata outfit were completely dominant in the first half where they created several goalscoring opportunities. Bagan winger Nikhil Kadam had an outstanding day at the office as he was an absolute livewire on the pitch.
After a convincing performance in the first half, Sankarlal Chakraborty’s men went into a defensive shell in the next 45 minutes. Speaking on his change of tactics at half-time, the coach said, “We had a lead of two goals, and considering that we have a game here again in a few days (March 3) and with Ricky (Lallawmawia) and Akram (Moghrabi) injured in the first half, I didn't want to take any risks. I told the boys to keep ball possession and play normal football without going for hard tackles.”
“Our aim is three points (in every game). We don't know the situation (from the remaining games) but our target is to stay as high as possible. Nobody knows what results Minerva (Punjab), NEROCA or East Bengal will have.”
On asked if finishing below arch-rivals East Bengal in the league table will be a bad thing for his side, the coach said, “I'm not thinking like this. What East Bengal or Minerva are doing now is not in our hands. What is in our hands are these two matches. We have to take three points from each points. Then let's see.”
The Bagan coach praised the Indian Arrows side who finished their set of matches on Tuesday. He said, “They had an excellent season. Some teams still have two matches in hand, but Arrows have finished. The league structure should be equal (to all teams). These boys are our future. So we have to protect them. They are still young and I-League is such a tough tournament. They need proper recovery also.”
Mathematically the Kolkata giants can still have a slim chance of bring crowned champions. On asked if they further increased the pressure on top three, Chakraborty said, “Always. Mathematically we are still in the title race.”