Chandigarh, May 29 (Calcutta Tube / IBNS) On paper it was very much a historical mismatch – Mohun Bagan a century-old club taking on Indian Arrows, the debutants in the I-League. In reality, it was a bit different.
Indian Arrows, devoid of any foreign recruit and comprising of U-21 boys who are playing their first season in the I-League rode on striker Lalpeklua’s hat-trick to stroll past McDowell Mohun Bagan 5-4 in their last I-League encounter at the Tau Devi Lal Sports Complex.
But it wasn’t Jeje alone. Bagan striker Muritala Ali too netted a hat-trick but it didn’t matter as the Indian Arrows more or less sealed the fate of the match in the first 25 minutes itself – scoring four goals.
Man-of-the-Match Jeje opened the scoring in the 9th minute when he headed home a Raju Gaikwad throw. Shilton D’Silva doubled it in the 18th minute tapping in a Lalrindika corner. The third goal came three minutes later – Jeje laying Shilton in the clear. And then, Jeje came up with a brilliant goal off a half-turn left-footer from top of the box in the 25th minute. He went on to complete his hat-trick in the 87th minute.
Bagan couldn’t believe what hit them as the Arrows, all motivated by the initial dominance stayed keen to answering all who had doubted their potential. More than the four goals, it was the one-twos in the midfield which puzzled Bagan. So much so that Technical Director Subhas Bhowmick was forced to make a double substitution in the 31st minute itself – Ishfaq Ahmed and Chidi Edeh replacing Gouranga Dutta and Kingshuk Debnath respectively.
Chidi’s induction coincided with Arrows skipper Raju Gaikwad limping off after he pulled his quadriceps muscle. And that enabled Bagan to crawl back in the match – Chidi pulling one back in the 42nd minute and then Muritala scoring the second in the 57th minute. Muritala went to complete his hat-trick as he scored two more – the team’s third goal in the 78th minute and completed his hat-trick in injury time.
Desmond Bulpin, the Indian Arrows coach was a visibly pleased man. “The entire bunch watched Barcelona humble Manchester United and didn’t get enough time to rest. But it didn’t affect our performance. This explains everything.”
Bagan finished their campaign on 34 points while Indian Arrows ended at 29 point from 26 matches.
The flurry of goals did provide for some entertainment, no doubt. Those present just couldn’t doubt the mismatch on the field. Arrows proved history doesn’t always win. The new generation is ready to carry forward the legacy.
Viva hold Chirag: In another match, Chirag United held Viva Kerala to a 1-1 draw at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata. Viva finished their I-Lleague campaign with 27 points while Chirag United stay on 29 points with one match still to play. NP Pradeep scored for Viva in the 47th minute while Sunil Chhetri pulled it back for Chirag in the 81st minute.