Courtesy : MBSG Media

The 10th edition of the Indian Super League had started just a few days back. After being clouded with uncertainty and many a controversy, finally the ball was set rolling in Kochi. The 10 years of a league which promised so much to Indian football had to be a grand event. Past champion coaches returning, new players with improved quality, a new place to watch all the matches. Everyone was excited. And the Mariners were no different. Screenings of the season promo was being arranged throughout the city, tickets getting sold out, tifos being prepared, chants being rehearsed. Add to that, the prospect of it being a weekend, the pleasant weather and last but not the least, our management arranging for transport for our supporters, it just had to be grand. The fans were ready, the players were ready. But, even before the match began, problems began. The Odisha FC versus Chennaiyin FC match had to stopped in the first half due to lightning. What this meant was that kick off for the next game was deferred by 40 minutes. Could the ISL committee have started the match and streamed it simultaneously with the second match, just like they do in the Indian Premier League? Yes. Did they do it? No. Why? Nobody knows.

Coming to the match, both coaches started with strong line ups. Coach Juan Ferrando rested Hugo for the match, starting Cummings upfront along with Dimi and Liston. Vishal started in goal as usual, along with a back three of Anwar, Hector Yuste and Hamill. Captain Subhasish and Ashish Rai started on the flanks, while Sahal operated from the middle. Glan Martins  replaced the suspended Anirudh Thapa.

The Punjab team was a mixture of players, most of them retained from last season's triumphant team, along with the new players who have been brought in for this new season. Coach Staikos Vergetis and captain Luka Majcen wanted to make mark in their first ever game in India's top flight. After all, their rise to Indian football's top flight wasn't an easy one. Their journey has been captured in an article on our site, take a look to know more.

Coming back to the match, the excitement for Punjab's debut was high. "Punjab walk into the lofty halls of the Indian Super League' was how the commentator summed it up. But, it was going to be a long, long ight for them. And so it was. Glan Martins won the ball high up the pitch and found Ashish Rai on the right. Ashish cut back and found Sahal in the box who fluffed his first time shot and the ball fell to a certain Jason Cummings who slotted in from close range. The score was 1-0 within the first 10 minutes. Bagan's marquee man, the World Cupper had just scored his first goal in ISL history. Fans rejoiced, the wait was worth it after all.

Just like the game against Odisha, Bagan dominated the match again. Be it possession, or passes or shots, Bagan had the upper hand. The eye test was passed, beautiful fluid football, smooth yet vicious for the opposition was on full flow. The players looked like well oiled machines with data fit into their heads. The data? Implement Juan-ball!!

Bagan kept up the ante, piling up the pressure. And it bore fruit, again. Cummings played Liston through with a beautiful through ball that split open the Punjab defense. Liston being unselfish rolled it to Dimi who slotted it home from close range. Another goal. Another high five. Dimi never left. He's the eyeball of this team, the jewel in the crown. The undisputed Dimi-God.

Punjab though never gave up. And why should they? They had nothing to loose, everything to gain. Captain Luka Majcen has played at different levels in Indian football, and he for one never let his boys give up. And it bore fruit in the second half.

Glan Martins made a howler of a back pass, and Majcen was quick to pounce on it. The ball rolled into the net slowly, almost signifying the rise of Punjab FC, from the days as Minerva Punjab to Round Glass Punjab and now, playing with the big boys. Momentous occasion, but an unnecessary goal to concede. 

Punjab came close again, scoring as well, only for the offside flag to foil their celebrations. They looked like on the verge of making a come back against the champions of India. Until Bagan struck back. Dimi put in a low cross from the left and it found a speedy Manvir Singh in the box who had just come on. Manvir made no mistake and scored from close range for his first goal of this new ISL season. The score now read 3-1. Surely it was over now.

Bagan though came close again on a few occasions with Armando Sadiku at the heart of it all. He was offside a couple of times, but the one time he wasn't he couldn't finish, firing the shot straight at the Punjab FC goalkeeper. The final touch of the game also came from Bagan players, again in an offside position.

Courtesy : MBFT.IN

All in all, it was another dominant display from the green and maroon boys. The fluidity is showing, and the team will be further boosted by the return of Anirudh Thapa. It will be a long season ahead with all matches being equally tough. But with a good squad depth and a coach who just never gives up, our supporters can expect more than 110% every time our boys step on the field.



Vishal had a decent outing. He didn't have much to do, and was good in his distribution. The goal cannot be blamed on him, and he will be determined to keep a clean sheet next time around.
Rating- 6/10


Captain Bose had a decent outing again, being defensively solid on the left. He has been dependable as always, and this match was no different.
Rating- 6/10


The super man, the pillar of our team. Dynamic, explosive and always in control. Anwar had another great outing but would have liked to keep the clean sheet. Plenty of matches to get that clean sheet though, but a good outing again.
Rating- 7/10


This man can be cool even if the match is played on the sun. That coolness transmits to his team mates. Another good outing from our Spanish maestro who is show casing his class every match.
Rating- 7/10


Hamill has been solid this season. He has started regularly in that back three and this looks to be the norm now. He has good, solid and calm. Good performance again.
Rating- 6/10


Majority of the Mohun Bagan attacks came through the right flank, and Ashish had an important role in almost all of them. Solid, fast, decisive, he even had a goal disallowed. Overall great performance.


Glan needs consistency. If he can be consistent enough, he can be one of our best midfielders. He played such a crucial role in the first goal, winning the ball higher up the pitch. He was good all through the first half, sold and quick, good with the passing too. But everyone will remember his howler, a back pass that never existed. With a long season ahead, Glan is bound to get his chances, he has to take them with both hands. He has the talent, needs more concentration.


Sahal has been a man reborn since his move to the Mariners. His creativity knows no bounds, but he has added that physical aspect to his game. He has looked more composed, more mature and better than ever this current season. A blessing for us.


If last season was forgettable, then this season will be unforgettable. The old Liston is not back, this is Liston 2.0. He's not a speedy roadster anymore, he has control on himself, he knows how to use his pace, and most importantly his decision making has improved. Another great performance from our gem.


Cumdog is off and running in the Indian Super League. Jason had a good game, scoring the opening goal and providing the pre-assist for the second goal. everyone knew the player we were signing, a player that oozes class and pedigree. He's here finally, and he has settled into the team. Brighter days ahead for out Aussie star.


Love this guy, absolutely love this guy. The most adorable player to the supporters at the moment, Dimi was at it again. A goal and an assist to get the season started. What a player we have on our hands. His thigh five, his interaction with the fans, Dimi is a crowd favorite off the field and a maestro on it. Our man of the match, one again!!


A word on Sadiku needs to be said. Though it's still early in the season, he looks off the charts. He was getting good balls yesterday, but mistimed his run on several occasions. Even the one where he had just the keeper to beat, he failed. A striker of such quality should have done better. Hope he settles in quickly, for his expertise will be much needed if Mohun Bagan are to fulfil their targets this season.


Hugo came on as a substitute after being rested for the match. He was good, taking on players and putting in the passes. His trademark run into the box cutting inside was also on show, though the end result was not as desired. Solid outing nevertheless.


Manvir came on a substitute in the second half and instantly made his impact felt scoring his first goal of the season. Even apart from the goal, there was a maturity in his game, be it in his passing or finding the right team mate, maturity and promise oozing through and through.


Two of our young colts got the chance to feature on the biggest stage in India football. The match will surely give them much needed confidence and experience, the taste of playing with the big boys. Decent outing from the boys, who are a vital part of our future.


The gaffer is on a roll. Such dominant displays, back to back. One just hopes this becomes the norm now at Mohun Bagan. Beautiful fluid football, masterminded by Juan, who was equally good at the substitutions. Great one, Gaffer!

Lastly, a word on the fans. I know, we talk about them every game, but what is our fault if we have the best fans in the country? The tifos, the chants, the passion....these things can never be ignored. About 28000 people attended the match and braved the late night lack of transport. Many hurdles came, first the local authorities did not give allowances for issuing season tickets. Then the blocked the use of pyros and drums, which form the basis of any fan culture. Then the kickoff was deferred by 40 odd minutes. But the fans stayed behind, supported the team. The team management tried it's best to ensure fans reach their homes at night, and such gestures from the management will take this relationship a long long way. We are always there for our team, everywhere, every time. 

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