League Shield hopes still alive as Bagan scrape past a resilient Punjab FC | Punjab FC vs Mohun Bagan SG Match Review |

Mohun Bagan maintained their chances to win the league shield with a slender 1-0 win over a resilient and determined Punjab FC. This Punjab FC was a lot more difficult team to beat that the one Bagan beat at the start of the season. A well settled team playing at "home" with a great tactician, it was always going to be a tough game. And so it was.

Bagan were without their manager Antonio Habas on the sidelines. The gaffer has been advised by the doctors to take some rest amidst a crushing and ruthless heat wave that has been prevalent throughout India. Without Habas there, Manuel Cascallana took charge as usual in his second consecutive game as the stand in coach. The expectations were huge. One mistake and Mumbai would have had a clear shot at winning the title next game. But they don't call Mohun Bagan the biggest club in India for nothing. And on Saturday, in one of the most polluted cities in the world at 37°C temperature in a stadium with no fans due to "security measure" and with Bollywood songs being blasted in the background, Bagan managed to get the crucial 3 points.

Cascallana has been less adventurous with his team sheet, picking Vishal in the goal, guarded by the three man wall of Hector Yuste, Subhasis Bose and Anwar Ali. In the middle of the park we had Abhishek, Deepak Tangri, Joni Kauko along with Manvir and Ashis Rai on the wings. Upfront were Cummings and Dimi Petratos.

It was always going to be a difficult game. The temperature being put aside, Punjab have blossomed into a very hard nut to crack over the course of the season. Their foreigners, especially Talal and Majcen have been nothing short of brilliant. The task was an uphill one, and Bagan were ready.

The match began as most people hoped it would. Mohun Bagan were in the ascendancy in the first stages of the match. Deepak Tangri, Dimi Petratos et all took shots at the goal in the hope of finding the net. Deepak also collected his 9th yellow card of the season, yes 9th. That means he will be suspended for the all important next game against Bengaluru. Although he hasn't been sent off this season, yet, collecting 9 yellow cards in 20 games is a thing that no one should be proud of.

Punjab grew into the game through Wilmar Jordan Gill. His physicality was causing lots of problems for the Bagan defense and he had a good crack at the Bagan goal, only for our ever dependent Vishal Kaith to thwart him away.

Just when it looked like the first half would end goal less, Bagan's go to man arrived at the scene. Subhasis Bose had taken a long shot at goal in the hope of causing any sort of chance. The ball fell to fortuitously to Dimi who didn't even need a second invitation as he put his foot right through the ball. The shot, although not the most powerful of them all was accurate enough to go past the keeper into the Punjab net. Bagan led 1-0, and it was a goal which put life back into our title dreams. Dimi moved into double figures for the season in the goals chart and he proved once again why he should be retained at all costs. 1-0 Bagan. Punjab tried to get level and they thought they did when Majcen headed the ball in, only for the assistant referee to rope him offside. Another example of how this newly promoted side has evolved throughout this season.

The remainder of the first half didn't add anything significant to the score and Bagan were tasked with either preserving this lead or trying to add to it. A repeat of the last game was not going to be enough.

The second half begun as the first one had ended. Punjab tried to break Bagan on the counter with Wilmar Jordan Gill. Bagan however were not in the mood to lose their lead two games in a row. Manvir Singh scuffed his chance but laid it on for Asish Rai who just couldn't balance his body while taking the shot, much to the fury of Jason Cummings. Bagan came close on several occasions through Dimi Petratos but he also couldn't find the target again. 

The best chance of the second half fell to Punjab FC when Majcen was set free into the Bagan box. He tried to back heel an assist for Wilmar Gill, but he made a mess of his shot trying to open his body. 

The game wasn't a cat and mouse chase, it was David versus Goliath. Cummings tap in to an open goal was somehow saved by an on rushing Melroy, while Wilmar had another shot saved at the other end. Bagan fans had their hearts in their mouth when Chatziisalas's header almost went into the back of the net, only for our ever dependable Hector Yuste to clear the ball.

Cascallana brought on Thapa and Brendan Hamill in the hopes of solidifying things at the back. The trio of Gill, Majcen and Talal were causing all sorts of problems for the Bagan defense, with Gill being the obvious target man upfront. 

Liston could have killed the game in the 88th minute but his shot was saved by Ravi Kumar in the Punjab goal. The watch witnessed the talent of Abhishek Suryavanshi. His calmness in passing and possession and his ability to take up the spaces, create chances and never hesitate is truly a gift. A player who hasn't put a foot wrong this season, Abhishek was truly remarkable.

Dimi became the top scorer for Bagan in the ISL with his goal. Punjab's hope of making the playoffs in their first season came to an end at the final whistle. A cruel way to end a season of so many possibilities and positives for the "Shers" from the North. 

As for Bagan, this win meant they are still in the race for the league shield. 2 more wins is all it will take to win that elusive trophy. A season of 6 months with so much drama, so many memories, some good, some bad and it all comes down to the last two games of the season.

Play like your life depends on these two games lads. We will be there to back you. Like we were there at that rain soaked Kanteerava cheering on our team on route to that first historic I League. We will be there. Until next time, Joy Mohun Bagan!!

Follow MBFT on TwitterFacebookInstagramYoutube, TelegramWhatsapp & Google News to stay updated with all the Mohun Bagan & Indian Football related News & Updates. Jai Hind Jai Bharat! Joy Mohun Bagan!

Previous Post Next Post