Mohun Bagan suffered yet another roadblock in the Calcutta Football League, playing out a 1-1 draw against Calcutta Customs on their home ground on the eve of India’s Independence Day. Fran Gonzalez scored for Bagan in the first half, while Stanley levelled for Calcutta Customs in the dying minutes of the match.
Starting the match in a better fashion than the previous outing, the hosts took control of the game from the first quarter itself. Spanish coach Kibu Vicuna started with Fran Gonzalez at defensive midfield instead of regular starter Fran Morante, who couldn't start the match due to an injury. Joseba Beitia once again steadied the ship for Bagan in the playmaking zone, with Indian players Shilton d’ Silva, Nongdamba Noarem and Romario Jesuraj playing the supporting act.
Even though striker Salva Chamorro got a few half chances in the first half, it was Fran Gonzalez who scored the first goal in the 20th minute. The foreigner produced a powerful shot from quite some distance which rocketed to the top left corner to give Mohun Bagan the lead. The wingers penetrated the opponents’ box quite often, but disciplined defending from Customs’ Emmanuel restricted the scoreline to 1-0 in the first half.
The second half was marked with scrappy football and high temper moments. Mohun Bagan’s Lalchhawnkima was shown a straight red card minutes after the hour mark after a very rash tackle on Calcutta Custom’s Philip who had only the keeper to beat. Fran Morante was introduced to strengthen the defence, but it hardly had any effect. Down to 10 men, ‘The Mariners’ got a couple of opportunities which they could not capitalize on.
Customs’ Debayan Saha was shown the marching orders with less than 10 minutes to go. Despite the numerical balance being restored with 10 men on each side, Bagan still failed to double the lead. Stanley, who is in red hot form in the league, struck in the 89th minute to earn a valuable point for his team. The weak defence once again denied Mohun Bagan a victory and two vital points.
Mohun Bagan’s next match is scheduled for this weekend where they will be up against Indian Navy in the Durand Cup at the Salt Lake Stadium.