Durand Cup 2019: Mohun Bagan vs Indian Navy | 5 Talking Points

Mohun Bagan made seven changes to their starting line-up
Mohun Bagan made seven changes to their starting line-up

Mohun Bagan maintained their perfect record in the Durand Cup by registering a 1-0 win over the Indian Navy at the Salt Lake Stadium on Saturday evening.

Fran Gonzalez's 58th-minute strike from the spot was enough for them to seal the match and secure all three points. The Green and Maroon brigade will be up against Real Kashmir FC in the semi-final on August 21.

#5 Kibu Vicuna saved key players for the knockout stages

Already through to the semi-finals, Mohun Bagan started with just one foreigner in the starting lineup.

Bagan's defence has been disappointing this season, but Kibu started with an all-Indian back four. Lalchawmkina and Sukhdev Singh started as centre backs.

Mohun Bagan made seven changes to the squad from the last game, introducing debutant Subho Ghosh in the forward line and gave veteran shot-stopper Debjit Mazumder another opportunity. Even though Mohun Bagan did not display a perfect game, the job was done.

This is a long season and the Durand Cup is just the curtain-raiser. The rotation policy adopted by Kibu Vicuna will help him to gauge the strength of the squad and also lock down the best XI.

#4 Controversial penalty appeal

Just when Mohun Bagan was starting to haunt Indian Navy’s defence and looking for their first strike, the referee denied them a penalty appeal. Fran Gonzalez produced an inch-perfect through ball to Sheikh Faiaz, who was positioned well enough to net the goal. Just when the winger dribbled the ball, the goalkeeper brought him down.

At first, it looked as if it was a penalty, but replays suggest that he was fouled after the ball passed both the players. Justice was served in the second half when Mohun Bagan was awarded a penalty in the 57th minute where Faiaz was brought down once again.

#3 Bagan's young guns impress but lacked goal-scoring abilities

Suhair VP and Subho started up front, while Spaniard Salva Chamorro missed the match due to an injury. Faiaz and Nongdomba Naorem operated from the wings. It was delightful to see how Subho played little passes with Faiaz quite often and Navy's defence was caught napping.

Midfielder Imran Khan also had a mixed day on the pitch. Having said that, the forwards lacked prowess in the attacking third and the absence of a regular striker was visible in the Bagan squad.

#2 Mohun Bagan’s defensive woes continue

Fran Gonzalez (left) was the only foreigner who played for Mohun Bagan on Saturday
Fran Gonzalez (left) was the only foreigner who played for Mohun Bagan on Saturday

Mohun Bagan still doesn’t have a stable back four as they have tried numerous combinations, but none have clicked for them so far.

Playing without the likes of Fran Morante in defence, the Indian lads shouldered the burden. Sukhdev Singh and Lalchawmkima’s communication skills need to improve if there is any chance of them playing together. Both of them faltered at crucial moments but they were lukcy not to concede a goal.

Dhanachandra Singh also looked a bit slow at times, while Arijit Bagui was nowhere near what he performed in the past two seasons.

Mohun Bagan will be relieved that they have more options, with the likes of Lalramchullova waiting to make his first appearance. Hopefully, Fran Morante will be fit to play in the semi-final.

#1 Is Subho Ghosh a star in the making?

Kibu Vicuna started with young Subho Ghosh in the forward line who had a dream debut. The Mohun Bagan academy graduate played with pace and determination. His passes were clean and accurate and the shots were on target.

An eye-catching left-footed long ranger almost pierced the net, but Navy’s custodian Bhaskar Roy fisted it over the bar.

Not only that, his playmaking skills were also lethal. In the 42nd minute, Subho Ghosh played a one-two with Arjit Bagui and struck it across to the centre, but Faiaz couldn’t make much out of it.

His ability to shoot with both legs with equal authority makes him a lethal player. Is Subho Ghosh the solution to Bagan’s problems in the attcaking zone?

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Edited by Alan John
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