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I-League 2017 - Sony Norde mounts personal 'Everest' and leaves mark on Kolkata derby

11:38 AM GMT+4 10/04/2017
Sony Norde Mohun Bagan East Bengal I-League 2017
The Mohun Bagan winger surmounted his Kolkata derby choking, reinstates himself as India's best foreign star...

Rat-Tat-Tat-Tat-Tat! You maybe mistaken to believe this is the reproduction of the sound emitting from the bolt carrier spring - piston assembly of the famous AK-47 rifle. Your beliefs will be spot on. But to those were witness to the Kolkata derby on Sunday, 9th April, will argue the words are synonymous with Sony Norde. 

His celebrations were a sight to behold as well. Fingers locked in the position of a man on a mission with a gun in his hand, razing down and churning over enemy lines for his side.  

Mohun Bagan triumphed at long last over their arch-rivals East Bengal in a thrilling tie at the Kanchenjunga stadium in Siliguri, to set themselves up perfectly for an I-League title push. Norde's whirling free-kick, many will attest, had the speed of a projectile from the aforementioned rifle's nuzzle. Though not at 2350 feet per second, the ball whizzed past a hapless Rehenesh in the blink of an eye. It was his first every goal in the famous contest, one that brought tides of euphoria on the waves of supporters donning the Maroon and Green.

Throughout the 27-year-old's time in Kolkata, a goal in the derby - let alone a meaningful performance - has eluded him. Some will make a case of injury and international duty getting in the way of the Haitian international's ability to deliver on the big stage. Others state he was merely a flat-track bully. 

Who is Azharuddin Mallick?

The sprightly winger has now inscribed his name into the annals of history and that is all that matters. Producing a first-class display against the Red and Golds, he left the opposition defence scampering to cover their Kerala-born keeper's goal. His off-the-ball movements were hard to keep track of and he popped up in the most unexpected of places to often give Bagan that extra edge.

In the 30th minute, he waded through a static East Bengal midfield, waltzed past Ivan Bukenya and hammered a shot at goal, that went just wide. If that didn't break the visitors into a cold sweat, Norde was just sizzling up the action. Receive - control - turn - shoot. This was the order of command followed by Norde a few minutes later, an effort from within the box which was parried away only just by Rehenesh. And then, rat-tat-tat, came the goal.

Mallick is the future of Mohun Bagan

These are just mere details in an otherwise exemplary day at the office for Norde when it mattered the most. The I-League winner of 2015, seemed in anchorage when this particular tie buoyed on the horizon, but not this time around. Here was a man in his element, the chef of his Plat préféré.

In truth the Mumbai City winger has climbed yet another summit. The right technique and mentality - that defined much of the lynchpin's first season in Kolkata - for once seemed married on the biggest stage of them all. The burst of pace, the awareness - they were all on display in a ferocious tie. 

"It was one of the best matches of my career. I have always dreamt of doing well in the derby and I am pleased that I came good today," he stated, after that performance. 

Norde's importance on the night was actually testifed when the final whistle had blown and the camera panned to the Bagan number 10. There in the cynosure of crowds audulation, the Bagan hero seemed 10 feet tall.

The player, however stressed that the celebration was not about shooting with a gun. ''My wife had sent me a video this morning of three month old son doing that gesture. I just wanted to emulate him,'' he informed after the match. 

 "I am happy that I could leave a mark on the derby," he claimed. Trust us Sony, you did more than just that.