The Kolkata Giants are making a comeback under their new gaffer Khalid Jamil as they edge past NEROCA FC at the Salt Lake Yuva Bharati Krirangan, Kolkata on a pleasant Saturday afternoon. Sony Norde scored on the 78th minute to push his team back into the title race.
- Wasteful NEROCA suffer at the end: If not so casual, NEROCA could have gone into their dressing rooms with a two-goal lead or more at half time. With 54% ball possession, they created six clear cut chances inside Bagan’s box but failed to register half of the shots on goal. The away team managed to get three corners but couldn’t capitalise on them. Playing against the big boys from Kolkata, being so wasteful will punish you.
- Khalid Jamil’s tactics working out as always: Jamil makes it two out of two after taking charge of the Mariners. He made a single change from his starting XI against Minerva Punjab- Lalchawnkima made his way back into the defence in place of Dalraj Singh. As Jamil made his way into Mohun Bagan, Darren Caldeira made his way into the first XI, which did pay off as the Mumbaikar stood as a pillar in the Green and Maroon midfield. Relying on counter attack, Sony Norde and Sheikh Faiaz has been amazing on the wings. Khalid’s tactics are paying off well for Bagan!
- Sony Norde steals the show again: A classic Jamil formation and an orthodox counter attack from Bagan on the 78th minute, and the next moment Bagan is in front. The Haitian magician delivers again. Dodging in from the left flank into the middle, making space for himself, Norde placed the ball at the right bottom corner to give Bagan the lead and put them back into the championship. Bagan without Norde seems to be a fish without water. This man proves himself every time his team needs him.
- Paul to the rescue: Bagan goalkeeper Shilton Paul was awarded the Hero of the Match award for his amazing performance today. Under Shankarlal Chakraborty, Shankar Roy was the preferred custodian, but Khalid Jamil has brought in experienced Paul into the side and has delivered instant results. He won the match for Bagan with his 26th minute save against Subhash Singh’s top corner shot and 39th minute save against Malem’s cracker. After coming in, Paul has maintained consecutive clean sheets.
- Referee’s mistake again spoils the match: Bagan custodian Shilton Paul should have received a red card just around 10 minutes into the second half when he punched NEROCA forward Katsumi without any cause. Referee Umesh Bora was right on spot but he chose to overlook the matter and just warn the custodian of many battles. Bagan getting reduced to ten, NEROCA would have had a high chance to win this game, but luck was not on their side as it seems.
4th placed NEROCA FC next travel to Goa to face Churchill Brothers FC on the 19th of January, while 5th placed Bagan has till 27th to prepare for the derby against their arch rivals Quess East Bengal FC who has two more matches to play before that.