New Delhi: Group D of the Federation Cup has been sent wide open with Vasco halting Mohun Bagan’s seven match unbeaten run coming into this game with a fine 1-0 victory at the Barasat Stadium, Kolkata.
Air India, who drew earlier in the day against Oil India, top the group with four points with Vasco and Bagan tied on three. It’s a three way battle for qualification between Air India, Mohun Bagan and Vasco.
Mohun Bagan coach Karim Bencherifa made three changes to the starting XI from the last game with Lalwampuia, Ishfaq Ahmed and James Singh Senior coming in for Jose Barreto, Lal Kamal Bhowmick and Shylo Malswamtulunga. Vasco SC named an unchanged XI from the last match.
There wasn’t much in the first half and both teams couldn’t stamp their authority on the game. The ball possession was almost the same and whatever chances that were created, were pure individual brilliance.
The ball was often being cleared in the final third and sadly, there wasn’t any constructive move to threaten the opposition’s citadel.
Mohun Bagan did manage to win a few throw-ins from the left with Mohanraj’s trying to do a ‘Delap’ but the quality never matched. The first opportunity befell Mohun Bagan when Marcos Pereira’s long ball on the left saw Lalwampuia turning the Vasco defender and unleashing a left footer which went over the bar.
The best move of the game saw Bhaichung Bhutia score for the Green and Maroons but the linesman rightfully raised the offside flag.
At this point, frustration was creeping up and there were a number of stoppages for some needless fouls. A sudden burst of pace by Ishfaq Ahmed saw him fox the Vasco defender, cut inside and have a crack at the goal. The ball missed the far post by not much.
The second session started with Vasco coach Elvis Goes bring on Lalnunpuia with Vincent Pires coming out. In the first ten minutes after the break, Mohun Bagan couldn’t do anything except for one Ishfaq header off a Habibur cross which went wide. At the other end, Menino Fernandes cut inside from the left and hit it straight to Bagan custodian Sangram Mukherjee.
Bencherifa went for a double change as Jose Barreto and Karthick K. entered with Lalwampuia and James Singh going out in the 56th minute.
A fine move on the right with Habibur Rahman sending a ball for Barreto, who’s through ball, was met by Marcos. Laxmikant Kattimani blocked Marcos’ shot and the second attempt from the Brazilian midfielder went over.
Bagan skipper Bhaichung Bhutia earned a free-kick after Sunil Kumar fouled him. Marcos Pereira’s attempt came off the post and Bhaichung did well to head the ball towards the net. Habibur Rahman, in an offside position, unnecessarily guided the ball in and the linesman rightly disallowed the goal.
Most of Mohun Bagan’s moves were from the right with Habibur Rahman playing a key role every time they went forward. Habibur’s floater inside the box was headed by Karthick but an alert Laxmikant collected well.
Just three minutes after being brought on, Agnelo Colaco’s shot from the outside of his foot went into the Bagan net and sent the Vasco players in ecstasy. The goal came out of nowhere and surprised everyone including the scorer!
Bhaichung Bhutia missed an opportunity as he went for the far post but the ball went out of play. Vasco coach Elvis Goes was sent off the officials as he protested against some of the decisions given on the field. In the injury time, Jose Barreto’s grounder from long produced a diving save from Laxmikant Kattimani.
Goalscorer Vasco SC: Agnelo Colaco (79th min)