Five things we learnt from the Odisha FC victory

After securing the 17th Durand Cup title, Mohun Bagan were back in AFC Cup duties against Neighbours Odisha FC. Mohun Bagan and Juan Ferrando not only emerged victorious, but put a clear statement to others after thrashing Sergio Lobera's boys 4-0. The first half was evenly poised, though Odisha couldn't create much, but second half was the proper introduction to what we call 'Juan-Ball'.

Here are our 5 positive takeaways from the game.

1. Duronto Dimi

After the inclusion of Jason Cummings and Armando Sadiku, many thought Dimi will not be a regular starter for Juan's team. But, Dimi again proved why he is still the main man for Mohun Bagan and why we love to call him DimiGod. Dimitri scored a brace last night, and could've had a hattrick if Jahouh didn't made the last ditch goal line clearance. Juan loves to play with a false 9, and Dimi is perfect for that role. Few days ago, in an interview Juan said Dimi understands his system and he is like Juan's assistant coach on the field. And, Dimi is proving it everyday.

Dimi is a leader and entertainer on the field and he is continuing his fine form from last season. 

2. Sahal x Hugo cooking

Juan had twerked his system a little and pushed Sahal forward last night to use him as a #10 alongside Hugo.  Juan used two number 10s and Thapa as a #6, which caused havoc for Odisha, specially Mourtada Fall who tackled Hugo twice poorly and eventually got a much deserved Red card. Sahal has shown glimpses of his quality for the national team when he has been given the freedom to play as a number 10, and yesterday again, he proved his quality. We know, on his day , Hugo Boumous can be dangerous, and, yesterday was certainly his day. Hugo and Sahal created Overload on the 10 men Odisha FC, which created few quick goal scoring opportunities, where Sahal got his first ever goal for the National Club of India. 

Handling Hugo was a nightmare for opponents, but, if Juan continues to play with a Hugo-Sahal double #10 going forward, it will be scary hours, but, NOT FOR US.

3. Captain Subhasish Bose

Mohunbagan's captaincy demand a certain type of commitment. And, Mohun Bagan's newly appointed captain Subhasish Bose has that commitment for the club. It is well known that he played the last 10-15' of the Durand Final with fever against EEB but guided us to victory. Before this AFC clash too he was having some injury related issues, but once Ashique Kuruniyan was ruled out, Juan Ferrando was out of options for the LWB role, and Bose stepped up. Bose is not an usual attacking threat like Ashique, but he has got his unique defensive capabilities, which makes him the best left back of this country. Yesterday, once again he proved his worth, led the team to Glory, and, when needed did a tackle or two to ensure the defence keeps a clean sheet. 

4. Defence trio

AFC Cup allows teams to field 6 foreigners, and Mohun Bagan took all the advantages of it last night. Brandon Hamill had a great start to the season, but he was out with injury and Hector Yuste took his spot in the 11, along with the main constant of the team Anwar Ali. But, in Juan's new 3 at the back system, all of them can survive together and all the three can compliment each other. Hector is the leader of the defence, who stays back and allows either Anwar or Hamill to step forward and build the attack, as this two are arguably the two of the best ball playing centre backs playing in India right now. Yesterday, Juan used this to his advantage, as Odisha couldn't create much and Anwar, Hamill were pushing forward to become extra bodies in the attacking third which created numerous opportunities for the Green and Maroon brigade. 

Mohun Bagan's target this season is to win the AFC Cup and if they want to achieve it, this defence needs to keep this momentum going.

5. Jubilant Juan Ball

Juan was heavily criticised last season, as many said he lacks a Plan B, but someone said in Twitter last night that if he continues to perform his magic with this Plan A, then, we don't even need a Plan B, and I couldn't agree more. Juan started the season with a conventional 4 ATB formation, but slowly switched to a 3 ATB now, where each and every one can contribute properly and everyone of the starting eleven compliments each other's quality. But, to run a system like this, you need a world class CDM who can keep the ball rotating, occupy spaces and run the game from the Midfield without even getting noticed by the audience. Mohun Bagan have got that man in Anirudh Thapa. Whenever Thapa plays great, we enjoy Juan ball in full flow. In Durand final, Thapa had a shaky game but yesterday he was back at his usual best, and so does Juan's system. Sergio Lobera is very highly rated in Indian Football circuit and people thought he will thrash Mohun Bagan after having a pre-season in Thailand. But, Señor Ferrando had other plans, and his boys executed it to perfection. Mohun Bagan kept more than 60% of the ball against a Lobera team, which is more humiliating than a 4-0 defeat for Sergio Lobera. Yesterday Juan put out a statement that 'We are not here to take part, we are here to TAKEOVER'

If Juan can keep this going, Mohun Bagan will become a force to reckon with.

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