The points were shared between Mohun Bagan and Salgaocar at the Fatorda Stadium in Goa, as the visitors were robbed of a victory. However, the significance of the goalless draw for the Mariners in particular is the sweet redemption following their loss to the same opposition in the Federation Cup.
Both Sides Missing Key Players
Despite the absence of Darryl Duffy, Derrick Pereira was left with no choice but to deploy Douhou Pierre at the apex of the Salgaocar attack. The defence was as solid as ever with both Francis Kasonde and Augustin Fernandes. 21 year old striker Alson Oliveira was handed his I League debut by Pereira alongside Douhou Pierre.
The absence of marquee player Pierre Boya proved to be less of a worry, as the Mohun Bagan attack looked as strong as ever with Balwant Singh and Sony Norde. Kingshuk Debnath was deployed alongside Bello Razaq in the absence of Anwar Ali.
Sony Norde Disappoints in the Final Third
Having been beaten at the federation cup by Salgaocar, this was Mohun Bagan’s shot at redemption. Despite the first five minutes of the encounter dominated by the home side, the Mariners slowly stitched a few meaningful attacks to peg back the home side. With approximately 20 minutes played, Mohun Bagan, despite inferior posession, were on the prow. Having been given a free role by his manager, Haiti attacker Sony Norde was at his menacing best. His commendable work rate and impeccable ball control were there for all to see.
However, despite his on-ball prowess, the Haiti international found himself at the back of a few ridiculous shots. His inability to convert chances and selfishness on the ball meant that the first half would end with the scores tied at 0-0, much to the agony and dismay of Sanjoy Sen.
Mohun Bagan On the Attack
The half time team talk by Sanjoy Sen clearly had its impact as both Balwant Singh and Sony Norde succeeded in finding cracks in the salgaocar defensive unit. Japanese Katsumi Yusa who had been almost invisible in the first half, took his place on the left wing, as both himself and Shouvik Ghosh created havoc. The Salgaocar ploy of bringing on Brian Mascarenhas for Alson Oliveira had clearly failed.
Douhou Pierre Fails To Make An Impact
The absence of the prolific Daryl Duffy meant that all eyes were focused on Ivorian Douhou Pierre. However, Pierre failed to live up to the hype and expectations thrust upon him, as neither did he or his Salgaocar teammates succeed to break the rock solid defensive pairing of Bello Razaq and Kingshuk Debnath. Despite that, the strength of Douhou Pierre was there for all to see as the latter’s hold up play at certain moments was nothing short of world class.
Mohun Bagan Dominate Final Stages
An attempted clearance from Gurjinder Singh saw the ball turned into the back of the net by a series of crazy ricochets from Balwant Singh and the Salgaocar defenders. However, the goal was controversially disallowed as a helpless Sanjoy Sen was seen fuming on the touchline.
Anticipating the chance to secure maximum points, Sen introduced the skilful Jeje Lalpheklua to the scheme of things. Despite what seemed to be an inspired change, the 22 year old Jeje failed to create that one moment of genius as the match concluded 0-0.
The 0-0 draw at the Fatorda means that Douhou Pierre could not reproduce his amazing performance against the Mariners as he did in the Federation Cup. However, despite just the point earned, Sanjoy Sen will be pleased with his side’s performance and will be hoping that their dominant displays will be converted to three points on a regular basis.