Sony Norde’s lone strike was enough for Mohun Bagan to edge past NEROCA FC at the Salt Lake Stadium on Saturday evening to script their second consecutive win in the ongoing I-League. Khalid Jamil maintained a 100% win record after he was appointed as the coach following Shankarlal Chakraborty’s resignation earlier this month.
Shilton Paul was spotted celebrating in unique style following the final whistle, which was indicated towards former teammate Katsumi Yusa. When asked about the incident, he informed that this was a reaction to a similar incident which happened which happened in Imphal during the away fixture. Back then, Katsumi also celebrated in a similar fashion.
“I got agitated by the kind of pain shown by Katsumi in the last game we lost against NEROCA FC (in Imphal). He is a very good friend of mine. But we wanted to win this match after the loss in the away fixture," said Shilton after the win.
Shilton and Yusa also had a heated exchange during the match where the former pushed the Japanese to clear his way for a goal kick. Regarding the incident, Shilton said, “He (Katsumi) tried to distract me every time I wanted to clear out the ball. He tried to block me so I pushed him away and flung my hands at the point. I had no choice but to push him away to take my kick. I only had 6 seconds.”
With the win, the green and maroon brigade have now accumulated 21 points from 13 games, but they are still out of contention for the championship race for now. On the other hand, NEROCA FC’s championship hopes hit a roadblock with the loss, the northeastern club remains at the fourth position with as many points, playing a game less.
Without the services of side back Arijit Bagui, Pintu Mahata and Sourav Das, the ‘Mariners’ are playing with a relatively new setup since Khalid Jamil took charge of the team earlier this month. Although Mohun Bagan created a few chances in the first half, it was NEROCA FC who had the best of the chances in the first minutes, but they were denied by veteran shot-stopper Shilton Paul.
Mohun Bagan looked ill at ease in the second half with their midfielders hardly making an impact in the game. It was Sony Norde who made the difference once again scoring a brilliant solo goal in the 78th minute to save the blushes for the home team and guide them to a vital win.
The back to back wins will give Mohun Bagan a much-needed boost ahead of the Kolkata derby which is a fortnight away. Hopefully, the injured players will get enough recovery before the crunch match.