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What the Kolkata derby looked like through Mohun Bagan glasses

What the Kolkata derby looked like through Mohun Bagan glasses

Souvik Roy Chowdhury

Published: 21 Jan 2018 11:13 PM GMT
Umm' Tumultuous? Would that be an apt word to describe the season that Mohun Bagan have had? Would that word be enough to define a time where even the post optimistic of Bagan fans have given up on a quest for silverware? The sudden understanding that a foreign import was not good enough. The realisation that a former cult hero actually wasn't done yet. The long term injury to a guy who was stellar in his debut for the Maroon and Green. The departure of a coach who had led them to I-League titles and the Federation Cup in the last few years. And then the final nail in the coffin ' the news of a season-ending injury to the icon that had led back to the glory days (Sony Norde if you want me to be not so subtle).
You can use any form of literary verbiage to bring into light the saddening state of things in the Bagan camp but the bottom line of it was that the Mariners were undoubtedly the underdogs heading into the Kolkata derby on Sunday. On the pitch, however, they were the top ones (dogs, I mean). When the whistle blew at the end of the ninety minutes at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan, it was a travesty. However, it was not the kind that the thousands in Green and Marron that had thronged the stands of the stadium had envisioned. It was a travesty by the fact that Mariners were winners by a margin of only two goals in a game where they could have easily scored six ' what a sight that would have been.
It was a game out of the prayer books of the Bagan fans. Right from Dipanada Dicka to Shilton Paul in goal; right from the first minute (in which the first goal was scored) till the final whistle, the team functioned like a well-drilled machine that would make any team in the I-League quake in their boots. Alas! This, though, just might be too little and surely too late. The Mariners stay a comfortable six points adrift of leaders Minerva Punjab with the side from North India still having a game in hand. And as we have learnt in previous seasons that even a draw or a loss could mean the difference between silverware and a season of 'what if'.
This was Bagan's fourth win of the campaign in 10 games ' but one that can't be measured in only the value of the points gained. For a club that has always stressed on the aesthetics rather than the financial (or would you rather say professionalism) side of the game, this would be a shot in the arm in more ways than one. Shankarlal Chakraborty, after a brilliant CFL campaign finally has his first win and unlike his predecessor one can't point to the brilliance of Sony Norde to pull their ship to shore. And that was one of the reasons it was so special. Deep down every player in Maroon and Green that took the field on Sunday should be smiling and be proud. Whilst the Bagan fans certainly crave for silverware at every instance this has been a season where even the staunchest of demanders need to take a step back and assess the situation.
Image result for dipanda dicka Source: Hindustan Times Whilst the lack of proper scouting and decision-making certainly has left the club digging themselves a hole, unexpected turn of events like the two injuries to two of the biggest names on the team sheet would derail any club in the country. The bottom line, for the day, would, however, read 2-0. This won't mean that the Bagan fans or their players start dreaming of the title again. This won't mean that they would start playing teams out of the park. This, however, means that the Bagan fans can finally hope even in a season that has gone as far south as one can go in a nightmare, they can salvage some pride. They can hope of an eleven playing in the proud Green and Maroon a game worth paying your entry fee for; one in which they put their best foot forward.
At the end of the day one might ask, 'What does this mean for the title race?' The answer would be, 'Nothing.' 'What did it mean for Mohun Bagan? - Everything.' For the players, for the coach and the millions for whom Mohun Bagan means the world, we can only hope they go into the sunset with some of this blistering performance. Umm' Salvation? Is that the word that describes this win for Bagan? They really don't care and why should they. It's a day to celebrate ' not many have come across for the team this year.
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