Kolkata Giants Mohun Bagan put in an extraordinary second-half performance to defeat NBP Rainbow AC 3-2 in their second 2018 Calcutta Football League (CFL) Premier Division ‘A’ fixture on Tuesday, at Mohun Bagan ground.
The hosts were trailing by a goal at half-time as NBP Rainbow AC found a breakthrough when midfielder Abhijit Sarkar slotted a world-class free-kick home in the 38th minute of the match to put his side ahead. The Mariners tried to equalize the scoreline before the interval, but Rainbow AC keeper Dibyendu Sarkar saved the effort of Aser Dipanda.
Mohun Bagan came back strongly in the second half as they already dominated the first half of the game. Dipanda gave the breakthrough for Bagan in the 48th minute when he headed home off a Mehtab Hossain free-kick, scoring his first goal of this season.
The Mariners stepped up their pace after the goal and attacked the rival goal desperately. The pressure yielded another goal in 67th minute of the match when Abhiskek Ambekar’s attempted shot on goal kissed the hand of defender Godwin Quashiga and went into the back of the net.
Mohun Bagan, thereafter, continued to dominate and added their third in the 73rd minute of the match through Azharuddin, whose final touch found the net after Eze Kingsley set him up from Aser Dipanda's header coming from Mehtab's corner.
However, in the 83rd minute of the match, Joel Sunday pulled a goal back as he found the target with a header, but it wasn’t enough to prevent Mariners from securing all three points.
Sankarlal avowed Mehtab Hossain's contribution in the second half, who played for the Green & Maroon brigade after 11 years. He also suggested how his arrival changed the color of the game. He explained how the experience of Mehtab Hossain helped Mohun Bagan as he has been a regular in ‘Kolkata Maidan’ and therefore he knows how to play in this kind of a surface.
"Tirthankar played a vital role coming off the bench in the previous match vs Pathachakra SC and today Mehtab did the same. They are important players and they turn up when the team needs them the most," he added.
Mohun Bagan coach Sankarlal Chakraborty made three changes in the starting XI against NBP Rainbow in which the most significant and shocking one was replacing last match’s only goalscorer Henry Kisekka with Aser Dipanda. Coach Sankarlal was forced to play Dipanda as Dicka was still unfit to play 90 minutes and Henry Kisekka got sick. The Mohun Bagan coach explained that Henry has been suffering from fever and the doctor has advised him complete bed rest for two days.
After the match, Mohun Bagan secured the top position in the points table with 6 valuable points.