By Rajarshi Chakrabarty
Mohun Bagan lost 2-1 at home in their last home game of Hero I league with two second-half goals from Mahmoud Al Hajmi and Kisseka Henry of Gokulam Kerala FC at Yuba Bharati Krirangan on Monday(12 February 2018)
The first half both teams had very few chances and failed to make any build up play in the attacking third of the pitch.Both teams played compact football in the first half and goal scoring chances were almost nil, though Mohun Bagan had almost 60% of the possession in the first half.
Mohun Bagan’s Faiz had a darting run into the box on 33rd minute and was brought down by Provat Lakra’s shoulder push from the side but the referee deemed it as a fair challenge and declined Mohun Bagan’s call for a penalty.
Neither teams could break the deadlock or make any defining move as both teams went into the halftime goalless.
In the second half, Kerala came out with a more defensive formation playing 4-2-3-1 putting 9 men behind the ball leaving lone striker upfront.Mohun Bagan’s attack through the centre was well intercepted in the compact formation of the Gokulam midfield while the side backs contained both Mohun Bagan wingers Nikhil Kadam and Sheikh Faiaz attacks down both flanks.
The first real chance in the second half came on 53rd minute as Dicka’s long ball found Akram Moghrabi in the box but the striker failed to make a proper connection and his weak shot was palmed away by Gokulam Keeper for a corner.
The easiest chance of the match came on 63rd minute as Mohun Bagan right back Arijit Bagui foxed his marker Provat Lakra and delivered a brilliant low cross into the box but Akram failed to score from the six-yard box with just the goalkeeper in sight and hit it straight to Gokulam keeper Bilal who pulled off a reflex save to deny Akram.
Mohun Bagan having missed two easy chances were punished on 76th minute as Addo delivered a long ball on the edge of Mohun Bagan box to Henry who chested it down brilliantly and played a perfect pass to Mahmood Al Ajmi who found space between two defenders Kingsley and Ricky to slot it pass advancing Shilton Paul to give Gokulam Kerela an unexpected 1-0 lead.
Having conceded a goal, Mohun Bagan struck back almost immediately in the next minute as Rana Gharami’s ball found Sheikh Faiz inside the box who played it onto substitute Shilton D’Silva who chipped the ball to Bimal Gharti Magar.The Nepal International who substituted off-colour Akram headed the ball to Dipanda Dicka, wh made no mistake heading it past Bilal to level the scores in less than 60 seconds after conceding to score his 9th goal of the league.
Both teams tried to break the deadlock but it was Gokulam Kerala who shocked the home fans as Kisseka Henry scored from a thunderous volley controlling a ball from Musa inside the box to rattle the net leaving Mohun Bagan goalkeeper no chance to react to give the Kerala side 2-1 lead at the 90th minute.
With 7 minutes of injury time added for the second half, Mohun Bagan pushed all men forward in search of the equalizer but fate had scripted another story as Dicka’s shot hit the woodwork on the 95th minute to deny Mohun Bagan a chance to steal 1 point in the dying minutes of the game.
As the referee blew the full-time whistle, Gokulam Kerala snatched three crucial points in their bid to escape the relegation zone. Despite the crucial win the Kerala side still languishes at the bottom of the table with 13 points from 13 games as they face a resurgent East Bengal in their next home fixture on 17th February