Five Things We Learnt from the Punjab FC Game

Courtesy : MBSG Media

Mohun Bagan have started the league campaign with a Win in the books and a convincing victory over the newcomers Punjab FC. As we always do, in we always try to discuss about the five positives from the game, so let's dive in.

Here are our Five positive takeaways:

1. The DimiGod

When I first heard the name 'Dimi', 'DimiGod' automatically popped up in my head. And, Dimi didn't disappoint. He has now scored in three consecutive matches, and the opponents were Emami East Bengal, Odisha FC and Punjab FC. Dimi has scored 4 goals and assisted 1 in the last three games. Against Punjab, it was two Aussies who started upfront as Dimi and Cummings and both combined pretty well to get the job done against the newcomers. Dimi scored the 2nd goal from a 'Guti-isq' Liston backpass and assisted the third to Manvir. But, Dimi is not only getting goal involvements, he is doing his playmaking duties too. Coach Ferrando said Dimi understands his game the best, is kind of a assistant coach. With Dimi's recent performance, he is indeed proving that.


2. The Cumdog

Mohun Bagan were lacking for a number 9 last year, so, this year, they invested in two. Jason Cummings had a good start to his life in Mohun Bagan, scoring 4 times before the ISL started, but 3 of them were penalties. A certain section of the fanbase was not impressed at all, and Cummings was heavily criticised. But, as I kept saying, 'You simply shouldn't write off a World Cupper', and Jason Cummings proved that in his ISL debut. We can't expect a modern day striker to dribble past five players and score a worldie every game. What we need from a number 9 now a days is to present in the box, creating space with box movement, smell goal scoring opportunities and convert even half chances. No, I won't say Cummings did all the things with perfection in the last game, but we have certainly got a glimpse of that. The first goal was a typical poachers instinct in the box, where Ashish put a low cross to Sahal, who just passed it forward to Cummings and Cummings converted within 10 minutes of his ISL debut. But, the highlight of the game was the through ball he passed for Liston, who did a Guti and helped setting up a easy tap-in for Dimi. The quality on that pass showed the real quality of Jason Cummings, and Mariners can be hopeful, the management has brought in a proper successor for the likes of Chima, Igor, Chidi, Odafa, Papa Diawara, Roy Krishna. Mohun Bagan has been historically blessed with prolific number 9's and I will be shocked if Jason Cummings doesn't become another one.


3. Superstar Sahal

If I am very honest to myself, I was very very confused when Mohun Bagan signed Sahal Abdul Samad and retained Hugo Boumous. I didn't knew what the management is planning, but, I guess it makes sense now why I am just a random supporter of the team, and the management is one of the most successful Football Management in Indian Football's history. Sahal Abdul Samad has been nothing, but, brilliant. He put a man of the match performance against Odisha FC in his AFC Cup group stage debut for the club, followed by another fantastic outing in his Mohun Bagan ISL debut. Sahal assisted one goal, pre-assisted another one, completed 82% passes and 86% dribbles. He was not only attacking, but helping Glan Martins in defensive duties too, where he won 4 defensive actions against the Punjab Midfield. We always thought Kerala Blasters fanbase was overhyping Sahal Abdul Samad, but, in this article, I wanted to say sorry to those Blasters fans for misunderstanding you, and I really want to thank you all for developing this brilliant player, who, I hope will continue his fine performance for the Green and Maroon brigade and will be a new name in the list of the Great Indian Midfielders played for Mohun Bagan throughout the years

4. Lovely Liston

If Mohun Bagan fans were upset in one player for the past one year, that was Liston Colaco. Liston had a debut season to remember for the club, but faded away the next season. This season, he was heavily linked with a move away from the club, as Odisha FC were in advanced negotiations with him to get his signature, but, Liston decided to stay and fight for his place for the champions of India. Liston, this season has been frustrating for few occasions, but, it is clear, he is showing glimpses of his quality and confidence again and getting his old form back. He started this season with a brilliant outing against Bangladesh Army , but was frustrating against East Bengal in the Durand Group stage match. After that though, he hasn't turned back. Liston was good against Abahani, played his part in the Durand Championship campaign, destroyed Odisha in his 20 minute cameo and delivered a masterclass, or, shall I say, MONSTERCLASS against Punjab FC. Coach Ferrando had to deploy him as a left Winger, but he was instructed to invert as more of an attacking mid, occupying the central spaces. Liston thrived in that role. Liston has number of trickeries in his bag, and he use all of them to his advantage when he plays a central role. I am still not over that intelligent Guti-isq pass to Dimitri, which will stay in my memory for edges. Yes, you must have noticed, it's the third time now in this article I've spoke about *That Assist*. With Ashique Kuruniyan out for the season and Nongdamba Naorem moving to JFC for game time, Liston is the only senior Left winger in this team, and he is certainly getting a run of games now. I hope this past few performances were only the trailers, and we are going to see the Monstrous Liston Colaco getting back into groove!

5. Juan Ferrando & his JuanBall

One complaint about Juan Ferrando I kept hearing was, he lacks a Plan B. But this season, he is showing, it was just a Myth. Punjab FC match was a big example for that. In the second half, Glan Martins did a blunder, where Punjab scored and were showing they have the potential to make a shock comeback to the game. What will most coaches do in that situation? They will make few defensive changes, will solidify the defense and Midfield and will go for a Jose Mourinho approach. But, Juan decided that Attack is the best form of defence. He had taken off the Captain and Left back Subhashish Bose, pushed Liston to the left wing back spot and introduced Manvir Singh, pushed him in that central role, where Liston was playing. If somebody asks me to name a Clutch player in this Mohun Bagan squad, many will say Dimitri or Cummings or Anwar Ali, but, for me, it's Manvir Singh. Manvir doesn't score very often, but he has a knack of scoring when the team needs it. Manvir literally came on, made a late run into the box and scored a 'simple' tap-in from a Dimitri Petratos cross, which was not so 'Simple' after all. And, Manvir not only scores, but works his socks off whenever he is on the field. The last game was not an exception either. Without that Manvir goal, things would've looked very different now, but, thanks to almighty, we have a Magical Manvir Singh in the squad. Coach deserves all the credit to bring Manvir's best this season. Also what makes this team a title challenger, is it's unreal depth for key positions, and, Coach Ferrando can definitely continue to show his magic for the club.

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