Mumbai: The rough patch seems to be never-ending for Mohun Bagan as they once again failed to collect full points from their home fixture against Gokulam Kerala FC on Wednesday evening. The green and maroon brigade displayed yet another lacklustre performance to pave their way for probably their worst I-League campaign since 2013 when they finished at the 8th position.
An eighteenth-minute goal from midfielder Shilton D’Silva was negated by an own goal from their defender Lalchawnkima just three minutes after that. In the 24th minute, Gokulam Kerala FC’s Joseph Marcus gave visitors the lead by virtue of the clinical finish. The rest of the first half was not so eventful barring an easy chance which Dicka failed to convert from handshaking distance of the goalkeeper.
As usual, Khalid Jamil lauded the efforts of his boys, but the end result was not what it was expected. During the post-match press conference, he said, “Everyone tried hard. It’s not like it was easy. I’m thinking about the next match for now. I’m not even thinking about the Super Cup or the top four.”
Dipanda Dicka made up for his mistake by scoring the equaliser at the stroke of the hour mark following Henry Kisekka’s pinpoint assist inside the box. Khalid Jamil’s men were much dominant in the second half with Sony Norde and Henry playing the lead roles with support from Omar El Husseiny from the central midfield position, but they failed to steer the Kolkata giants to a win.
“We must be more strong defensively and finish off chances better in the forward. In midfield, we must distribute the ball better,” said the tactician when asked about the areas where they need to improve.
There was an end to end action for the remainder of the match, with the tussle for the ball being the main objective throughout. Both the teams got an equal number of chances, but none of the players failed to convert. Two of the struggling teams in the I-League shared spoils in an evenly contested affair in the front of a near-empty Salt Lake Stadium.
This draw meant that Mohun Bagan now has a slim chance of making it to the top four, with two of the toughest away fixtures yet to play. Maybe that’s the reason coach Khalid Jamil is not sure about where they are going to finish in the end. “I never make the prediction for the future. I don’t know whether we’ll make the top four or not.”
Mohun Bagan will face an upbeat Churchill Brothers FC in their next fixture in Goa, which will be a hard nut to crack. The two-time I-League champions are on the hunt for a third title with their star striker Willis Deon Plaza having an outstanding season so far. “I never think about the past. I’m thinking about this match and about the Churchill away match. We must work hard in order to get the three points we’re craving for,” addressed the coach.
The passionate followers of the club have already started a protest against the club, following their defeat to East Bengal FC last Sunday. While the red and gold brigade, after new corporate backing, has been able to spend big in the transfer market, the results of which are paying off, Mohun Bagan is yet to rope in an investor and the results are doesn’t make the situation better.
For the time being, the Mariners can hope to collect as many points as possible from the remaining matches in the season. Their next big assignment will be the Indian Super Cup, which will start a few days after the I-League concludes. Hopefully, a successful outing in the Super Cup will bring back happy faces in the stands for the century-old club.