How Mohun Bagan got Heckled at Home by the Gokulam Boys: The Talking Points

Rohit Ganguly  |  Mohun Bagan  |  1 Year Ago

After holding sway across the entire match, Mohun Bagan bowed out of the game drubbed by Gokulam Kerala FC. Thanks to a marvellous finish from Kisseka who volleyed home a powerful strike to hand the victory to the visitors.


Despite dictating terms across the entire game, Bagan never really had the zeal in them to finish things off as they lost the ball over and over again in the final third and played some needless passes in the midfield. Amongst all the pandemonium, came a sudden decision from Bagan preceptor, Shankarlal Chakraborty, who decided to swap the veteran defender, Cameron Watson with a toothless medio, Shilton D Silva. This substitution backfired as Bagan had to shell out a hefty price owing to Shilton D Silva’s howler in case of the first goal.


Despite all the salvo and belligerence, the game came to life only towards the last 15 minutes of the proceedings after Al Ajmi fired the ball home from close range and drew first blood for the visitors. The move spawned in the backline of Kerala after Addo released a meaty long-ball intended for Kisseka who exhibited top-notch ball control across the entire game. Kisseka received the ball with clinical precision and flayed a peach of a lob for an onrushing Ajmi. Ajmi did a stellar job in receiving the ball without much interference from the hosts and blasted the ball into the back of the net with tremendous power.


However, the joys were short-lived for the visitors as Bagan restored parity within a minute of the first goal. It was a brilliantly combined move from the hosts after it initiated in the midfield from Kadam. Kadam slid into the attacking zone with his deft speed and played Bimal, the Nepalese prodigy, a lovely through ball. Bimal played it to the further right for a lurking Faiyaz who chipped it in for Bimal again. The Nepalese wunderkind headed the ball in place for Dicka who headed the ball home from close range thereby nullifying Gokulam’s lead.


Gokulam were not to be dented by the resurgence of the hosts and went on to press Bagan with their limited salvo. This paid off handsome dividends after Lakra, threw the ball in initiating the proceedings quickly. Musa received the ball with tantamount aplomb and laid it bare for Kisseka who did a stellar job to steal the show. Kisseka chested the ball down with a lovely turn which foxed his marker and then he volleyed home a pile-driver, which Shilton Paul failed to fathom even being in the right spot.


We will now sneak a peek into the talking points that tipped the scales of the game:

Bagan’s profligacy will haunt them down until they can manage a silverware

Bagan exhibited a flamboyant display across the entire field making life as hard as possible for the visitors. In fact, to corroborate this statement of mine, probably the number of touches which Shilton had on the ball could have been easily counted by a kid taking his nursery lesson. However, holding sway or an unstinting and imperious display across the entire game will be futile if you fail to score.


This is exactly what stung Bagan today. After an initial jolt from Gokulam, things turned ugly for the visitors as they kept on chasing shadows. Kadam, Faiyaz, Moghrabi, and Ricky took the reins of the game. However, their salvo never fructified.


Barring a couple of occasions where Bagan can be considered hapless as the woodwork thwarted their attempts, on the rest of the occasions, they have themselves to blame.


Moghrabi could have easily scored the first goal of the vie on multiple occasions but the Lebanese stalwart was on a missing spree for the day. The best chance came for him on the 63rd minute after Faiyaz sped past the outstretched feet of Lakra and teed it up for the striker. However, Moghrabi, incredulously skelped the ball with his right foot only for the delivery to go straight to Bilal who displayed a herculean effort under the woodwork for the day.


Bagan could have again restored parity in the dying embers of the game but Dipanda Dicka’s screamer struck the woodwork and the rebound went haywire.


Other than these prominent chances, Bagan came close to scoring on multiple occasions but was ousted off the chances either by an alert Bilal under the woodwork or by the doggedness of Kerala defence.

An optimist may win hearts but an opportunist will win what is exactly needed to thrive

Gokulam Kerala FC was the opportunistic side of the day. They never really looked to threat the visitors from their end. They definitely probed the defence in the initial 20-30 odd minutes of the game but then they slowly folded back to their integument. They drew out the Mohun Bagan side, witting it very well that it will be not a facile task to score against a composed side like Bagan’s.


However, they kept on stinging Bagan on the breaks, in every alternative 5-6 minutes. However, with the synergy of Kingsley and Watson, it was definitely not a walk in the park for them. This foreign duo was well on their toe and kept on repulsing everything and anything that came in their way.


However, the composure rattled when Watson was superseded on the 71st minute and the door to glory for the visitors was ajar.


Shilton De Silva, the substitute for Watson, who was introduced into the game for inducing more speed and energy, did exactly on the contrary. He was behindhand and he never really seemed prepped at all for anything that came his way.


When the ball fell for Kisseka in case of the first goal, Shilton was caught napping. He definitely got an opportunity to redeem himself on the very next move, when Kisseka lobbed it over for Ajmi but he exhibited tremendous apathy to not even try and go in for a charge. Ajmi very calmly slotted the ball home with force thereby exploiting the opportunity that was gifted to him on a silver platter.



A team can never be flat-footed, no matter whatsoever is the scenario. The second goal was only a result of Bagan’s apathy. With all due reverence to the pulchritude of Kisseka’s screamer, Bagan was waiting for the ball to be gifted to them from the throw which never actually transpired and it is not supposed to transpire. The rudimentaries of the football state that you will have to snatch everything from your opponents. However, Bagan simply lets it go and were awaken late when the move has already materialized. After Musa powered his way past two Bagan defenders, then Mohun Bagan realized that something in their rearguard is astir and the colour seems to be vaguely different from their familiar Maroon and Green.


Kisseka slammed the ball home with brute power and from a sterling volley, punishing Bagan for their willingness to allow him all the space on the world.

Bilal definitely deserves a paean to be warbled in his name

A custodian is always an integral part of any contingency in football. Deemed as the last guard of the fortress, it is the goalkeeper who can change the complexion of the game on his heyday, single-handedly.


Bilal definitely deserves a lot of plaudits from his teammates as he single-handedly overturned the tide on which Mohun Bagan kept on riding right from the outset.


Starting from thwarting the first attack of Mohun Bagan where he rushed to his team’s deliverance collecting the ball from Faiyaz, his heroics spanned to rescinding all the set-pieces which Bagan fired.

He leapfrogged every other Mohun Bagan attacker in the box multiple times to parry away several corners and multiple long balls which were hurled from the Bagan backline.


He rescued his team on three genuine occasions where Bagan could have easily taken the game away. Dicka dinked the ball deftly for Akram on the 50th minute whose emaciated strike took an untoward turn towards the goal in the end. However, Bilal dived to his left and guided the ball out of the park for a corner.


Twelve minutes later, Akram was gifted with a delectable cross from Faiyaz on a silver platter. He chose to shoot the ball with his right foot but Bilal was right there to thwart the opportunity as Akram made the howler of choosing a wrong foot.

In the dying embers of the game, Bimal played a delectable through ball for an onrushing Dicka. However, Bilal’s outstretched hand waylaid the ball and the attack never saw the light of the day.

Only if the judges would have been wary enough, Bilal could have easily been the man of the match.

Mohun Bagan’s tactics are still not sharp and they rely on the antiquated ways to break free

Long balls always used to be a thing of the past which are still resorted to by every team whenever they are behind and are trying desperately to crawl their way back into the game. However, Bagan recoursed to this antiquated way of making inroads right from the start to the stop.


Good passes were hardly on offer and whenever they were clear on the move, instead of making a run down the center, Bagan whipped in unnecessary long-balls making things way easier for the Gokulam defence to anticipate and clip.


Ricky failed to continue with his blazing runs down the left wing as he was overburdened with defensive responsibilities. Faiyaz had a hard time, trying to outclass the likes of Lakra who seemed a man out of the blue and knew his job well.


The worst bit of the game was Mohun Bagan’s passing and snatching in the midfield. Instead of proper distribution, Bagan kept on kicking the ball like a school team trying to win it in a field plagued by post-rain mire.


The passes were haywire and were released very late for any proper menacing move to manifest. Neither did Bagan try any long rangers barring a couple of occasions. Ricky tried his luck from the distance but Bilal pulled a remarkable save diving to his left.


Dicka tried a shot from the distance but had his effort blocked by the bar and the rebound back-volley headed towards the corner line for a resultant goal-kick.


If Bagan is planning to continue with such ancient techniques, time is going to be very hard for the Kolkata giants.

The referee had a few calls he will probably need to answer later

A referee can very well be a crux of any game and proper arbitration can lead him to fame but a day like this may question his credibility.


Right since the outset of the game he made a few debatable calls which could have very well sealed the fate of the day. Around the half-hour mark, he denied Faiyaz a penalty which seemed to be an obvious foul. Lakra shelled his shoulder onto an advancing Faiyaz who was clear on the goal.


Moments later a similar challenge on a Kerala player was deemed as a foul and the concourse erupted into a frenzy.


Shilton Paul parried away Ajmi’s shot in the dying embers of the first-half of the game for a corner but the stickler waved his appeal and allowed a goal-kick to be taken.


Dicka was unnecessarily booked towards the end of the game after the Bagan forward was involved in a duel with Kisseka. The video was angled at multiple shots to check whether there was any touch of hand to get the ball in control but nothing was found.


With already too much of row over referring in the recent days, Bagan may simply fuel this fire again thereby questioning the credibility of the sticklers deployed.


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