Durand Cup 2019, Mohammedan Sporting 6-2 Indian Navy: 5 Talking Points
Mohammedan Sporting Club thrashed Indian Navy by 6-2 in their second match of the prestigious Durand Cup on the Mohun Bagan ground here on Saturday. The Black and White Brigade needed to win the match at any cost, and after a disappointing first half, they came out with flying colours.
Ivory Coast player Arthur Kouassi scored an astonishing five goals in the match while the other one was scored by Musa Mudde. For Navy, Britto PM scored a brace.
Let us look at the talking points of the game:
#5 Mohammedan comes into life in the second half
It was a disappointing performance from Mohammedan in the first half. They were lacklustre in every aspect. Be it their defenders or strikers, none had the urge to push themselves further. Even coach Subrata Bhattacharya was furious to see some of their movements.
However, the coach might have spoken something to the players who came out as a different outfit in the second half. Kouassi was given a more direct role in the striking zone while Mudde Musa was pushed up front. Tirthankar Sarkar also started operating more freely in the midfield.
This helped Mohammedan to push the Indian Navy to the brink. They were positive in their approach and were looking for an early goal. After they got one, they were hungry for more. This was in complete contrast to their first-half performance.
#4 Mohammedan need to be better defensively
Even though they scored six, Mohammedan also conceded two goals. And both came from their mistakes. The first goal for Indian Navy from PM Britto was an absolute stunner and the goalkeeper had no chance to save it.
But it should also be said that it was due to some lackadaisical performance from the defender which led to the goal.
The Mohammedan defenders had enough time to close Britto out and could’ve blocked him from taking the shot. Instead, they allowed him to take the position before unleashing a shot.
Defender Kareem Omoloza also saved Mohammedan’s face twice in the first half. In the 39th minute, Sarabjit lofted the ball over Mohammedan goalkeeper only to be saved by Kareem. He took control of the ball and delivered another curler that was headed away by the Nigerian again.
#3 Tirthankar comes up with another impressive performance
Talented midfielder Tirthankar Sarkar came short of being a hero in the Santosh Trophy a couple of years ago. His last-minute free-kick equalised the score-line for Bengal but the home team had to lose the game on penalty shoot-out.
Since then, Tirthankar is the centre of attraction and Mohun Bagan promptly signed him for the season. However, a serious injury forced him out for most of the season. The Green and Maroon also released him.
After changing his jersey colours, it seems Tirthankar has become hungrier. On Saturday, he operated from both the flanks and made life difficult for Navy defenders. He switched sides repeatedly to puzzle the opponents. Also, his crosses were fruitful. He made two assists in the game, the last came from an inch-perfect corner.
#2 Rainy conditions helped Mohammedan
The sky was overcast since the beginning of the game and it started raining on the hour mark. It’s not easy to play in any of the grounds in Kolkata Maidan under the rain but the Mohammedan players are well used to it.
They have played their first match of the Calcutta Football League in similar conditions. So, the rain came as a blessing in disguise for the Black and White Brigade.
It did just the opposite for the Navy Men. Most of them are not used to play in such conditions and eventually, their attacking flow came to halt as it was difficult to pass in the muddy field. Mohammedan used the opportunity and scored one goal after another, which the Indian Navy players had no answer.
#1 Kouassi’s etches his name in history
Arthur Kouassi has been a regular goal-scorer no matter where he played. Watching his goal-scoring prowess, Mohammedan management signed him for the season.
However, the Ivory Coast player came under criticism after he failed to score in the opening two matches. Even against the Indian Navy, he was wasteful in the first half.
But the situation changed completely after the lemon-break. He scored the first goal from the jungle of legs and after that, there was no stopping for him as he scored one after the other, including one from the free-kick. When referee Tejas Nagvenkar blew the final whistle, not one or two but five goals were written after his name.
This is the first time in the edition of the Durand Cup that a player has scored five goals in one match.
The statisticians are already searching when was the last time a player had scored five goals in a match. Kouassi also became the top scorer in this tournament.
Mohammedan will have another must-win match against ATK and Kouassi will need to show the same performance if his team have any chance to go through.