Eagle Eyed Rainbows hold Complacent Bagan to a 2-2 draw | CFL 2024

 Eagle Eyed Rainbows hold Complacent Mariners to a 2-2 draw | CFL 2024

Courtesy: Mohun Bagan SG Media

Mohun Bagan's cold rainy start to the CFL continues as they yet again played out a frustrating draw against ASOS Rainbow AC. Their were notable improvements, better selections but the comeback from Rainbow brought back the unimpressive aspects from their previous match.
Mohun Bagan had a great start to the game, as it seemed finally things were starting to click. There were three changes to the starting lineup for Bagan. Serto Kom started over Fardin Ali Molla, Abhishek Suryavanshi took the place of Engson Singh while Brijesh Giri was brought in for Amandeep.
Throughout the first half, Abhishek and Sibajit linked up brilliantly in the midfield. They always made themselves available for a pass from the CBs Saurabh and Sayan. Full backs Basfore and Brijesh, unlike the previous match, were much more aggressive and ran up and down the wing quite a few times.
What was more notable was the work rates of Salahudheen and Taison Singh who chased down the opposition wingers and full backs and made themselves available at defense or cover for when their respective full backs had ran up the wing.

Both Bagan goals came from set pieces, the first from an excellently placed corner by Taison and a perfectly positioned Suhail Ahmed Bhat who connected his head to the low cross, directing on target, finding opposition GK Shilton Paul a bit off the position.

It wasn't Shilton's only iffy moment of the match, as he was a bit hesitant when Taison sent a long ball in which allowed Suhail again to find a headed goal which lobbed over Paul into the net.

And it was exactly when the complacency started to kick in for the Mariners. They went unnecessarily defensive, allowed Rainbow many passes, who were arranged in a typical 4-3-3 as were Bhowanipore FC in Bagan's prior match.

Rainbow had a few shots here and there but their goals too came from set pieces, one a well placed free kick, or more like a terrible wall arrangement from Mohun Bagan. A minute later, they converted a penalty earned from an awkward defensive lapse from Sayan Das.

Courtesy: Mohun Bagan SG Media

And the second half brought what the fans feared. All the patience and composure simply vanished from the nervous Bagan colts as the frequency if clueless long balls and praying to the Gods for a miracle tactics made a comeback.

On the other hand, Rainbow were lethal on the counter. Since Bagan were so prone to losing possession, always trying to attack but all of them half baked, with the best possible option not being considered most times, this gave Rainbow many chances at launching their blistering attackers on the transition who too missed two sitters early in the second half.
For Rainbow, Shilton Paul made Bagan fans reminisce of his glorious peak in the second half with outstanding saves, albeit against the Mariners this time around. 39 year old defender Kinshuk Debnath produced a masterclass while Rajon Burman and Rahul Roy were impressive up front for Rainbow.

As the play progressed, players started to get tired. Bagan's strikers were not dropping down anymore as Serto Kom, who made his presence felt in the midfield got replaced at half time by Fardin.

What was most notable in large portions of the match was Bagan's tendency to sit back unnecessarily and not sending more men forward. Suhail and Serto and subsequently Molla were forced wide but that didn't correspond with Taison, Sahaludheen or even Abhishek or Sibajit making a dash into the empty box.
Just like last game, Mohun Bagan started properly attacking quite late into the game when the tiredness started to kick in and many out of the best XI were already subbed out.

Again Deggie Cardozo needs to bear the brunt of the criticism as he continues to insist on his 4-4-2 arrangement without forwards who are not built for, with Center Mids not physical enough for, with one winger not explosive enough for the formation to be implemented properly.

It was the highly adaptible of 4-2-4 of Bastab Roy last campaign which Bagan had finished third in their Group, five points behind Mohammedan and Diamond Harbour with 3 draws (against Kalighat, Army Red and Mohammedan) and 2 defeats (against Southern Samity and Diamond Harbour) in 12 games. 

An important reason why such draws are frustrating is that the points obtained in the regular group stage get carried onto the Super 6. Thus, games like these are bound to cost the most, and really can't be excused off given that the Reserves had assembled at Kolkata this time as early as June 9.

With East Bengal looking quite strong this time around, it will be a very difficult derby for the Bagan players, although there are reports many senior team players will be fielded from both sides on July 12 at the Vivekananda Yuva Bharati Krirangan in Salt Lake.

For Bagan, Ashique Kuruniyan, Glan Martins and Arsh Anwar Sheikh have joined the practice along with the reserves. With such unorganised tactics, one cannot have hope for even qualifying for the Super 6 this time around. 
Deggie Cardozo needs to be more open with trying new things out, adapting to the opponent and teach his players to be more composed on the ball and be aware of their surroundings.

MBFT prays for a positive turnaround from the lessons learnt from these two games and wishes the players and coaches the best in their preparation for the much more challenging games ahead.

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