The high voltage Calcutta Football match between Mohun Bagan and East Bengal at the Salt Lake Stadium ended in a 2-2 draw. Not only was it an exciting match with end to end action, but it was a great tactical tussle between two of India’s most celebrated clubs. Mehtab Hossain, one of the most experienced players of this fixture, unfortunately, got injured and left the field just minutes after he was brought on as a substitute. It is likely that Mehtab had broken his arm!
“East Bengal did not get a clear opening in the entire 90 minutes. We wanted to control the match when we were trailing 1-2, so I brought on Mehtab Hossain and wanted to use him like I always did. But unfortunately, Mehtab broke his hand and was out of action. Although we are awaiting the X-ray reports, we are pretty sure it’s a serious injury,” said Shankarlal Chakraborty at the post-match press conference. This might be the last ‘Derby’ as the legendary midfielder is most probably to hang up his boots at the end of the Calcutta Football League. East Bengal scored the equaliser just five minutes after Mehtab Hossain was taken off.
Henry Kisseka’s free-kick in the 5th minute was the only notable event in the opening phase of the game, with Mohun Bagan dominating the midfield. Pintu Mahata’s well-connected shot after Arijit Bagui’s cross gave the green and maroon brigade the lead in the 20th minute. At the stroke of the half-hour mark, foreign recruit Henry Kisseka’s doubled the lead with a similar strike, with the assist again from the side-back. Johnny Acosta scripted his name on the score-sheet after the luckily went inside the net. The cross from Lalrindika Ralte was directed towards Costa Rican after the initial header was somehow kept out by Shilton Paul, but the rebound made it 1-2 in the dying seconds of the first half.
East Bengal played better football in the second half, Al-Amna combing well with the forwards. It was a brilliant goal by Laldanmawia Ralte after a corner kick from Lalrindika Ralte which made it all square in the match in the 61st minute. Shilton’s stop from the corner kick was poor and the loose ball was slotted home by an East Bengal player. The tempo of the game fell drastically in the last 30 minutes of the match as both the teams were playing a bit cautiously. In the end, a 2-2 result was justified and more importantly, it makes the Calcutta Football League even more interesting towards the end.
With three matches left for both the teams, the race for the championship will be alive till the last fixture. Although Mohun Bagan is ahead of East Bengal due to the greater number of goals scored, both the teams more or less have equal chances of winning the league.