Bagan slams Churchill Brothers Out of Super Cup, Enters the Quarter Final

Rohit Ganguly  |  Super Cup  |  11 Months Ago

Bagan came from a goal behind to pump in two goals to seal the quarter-final berth of Super Cup. After going a goal down against Churchill at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneshwar, Dicka netted a brace to take Mohun Bagan hammer and tongs to the next round. 


Willis Plaza scored the first goal of the game after he exploited a Mohun Bagan howler in the midfield and ran with blistering pace down the left evading a couple of Bagan defenders and finally dinked the ball home calmly over an onrushing Shilton Paul, drawing first blood. 


Just in the dying embers of the first-half, Bagan was awarded a spot-kick, after Faiyaz’s stinging run down the right was stalled by Nicholas Fernandes via a foul inside the box. The referee immediately indicated at the dreaded spot. Dicka stepped up and shot the penalty right at Ricardo Cardozo, however, the rebound was blasted into the net by Dicka himself not allowing Cardozo to lay his hands on the ball again.


After a battery of unstinting attacks from Bagan, Dipanda Dicka finally shattered the impasse as he tapped the ball home from point-blank range. Watson’s free-kick was headed back by Akram Moghrabi for Dicka, who kept his calm and nudged the ball home to ascertain the lead for his team.


We will sneak a peek into the pointers which impinged the game:


1. The duo of Yuta Kinowaki and Cameron Watson put a spanner in all the plans which Churchill had up their sleeves

Shankarlal Chakroborty deployed the Japanese sensation Yuta Kinowaki and former Bengaluru FC star, Cameron Watson in the defensive midfield. This was an absolute masterstroke from the likes of him. Yuta did all the snatching in the defensive-third and Watson was the bridge between two dynamic wingers of Bagan in the form of Sk. Faiyaz and Nikhil Kadam.


Not even a single ball went past Yuta when he patrolled the midfield. Despite his short stature, he ran incessantly to chase down any ball in the Mohun Bagan box. The ones he failed to reach with his sprints, he ensured that he had his body in the line of them to thwart any and every attempt of Churchill Brothers.

Watson offered some stellar assistance to Yuta as he made the fullest use of his burly physique and kept on delivering long balls on both the flanks for the wingers to latch onto.


2. Nikhil Kadam and Sk. Faiyaz were the actual heroes of Mohun Bagan

Churchill was left completely dismantled and unsettled in the second-half due to these two wingers. The stinging pace of Faiyaz on both the flanks, as he kept on interchanging his position with Nikhil and the exceptional ball control and sudden cut-ins from Nikhil Kadam left Churchill punchdrunk.


Only if Akram could have latched onto the opportunities that came his way from Faiyaz, the match would have been over for Churchill within an hour. The first goal for Bagan came as Faiyaz’s pace was too much for Fernandes to control and he was compelled to upend the former in the box. 


Faiyaz continuously kept on running down the right and delivering crosses. None of the Churchill defenders was a match for his pace. 


Kadam, on the contrary, was all about clinical ball control for the night, delicate chips, fancy dribbles and sudden darting runs down the planks. Only if he could have been on target, Churchill would have been snuffed out within an hour.

3. A paradigm shift came in Mohun Bagan’s style of play in the second-half

Mohun Bagan was reticent in the first-half until the goal was conceded. Despite the fact, that the lion’s share of possession was with them, they hardly probed Ricardo Cardozo with any moves. 


The first categorical chance of the game fell for Bagan after Faiyaz squared off a peach of a delivery from the right and Dicka’s diving footer took a sturdy deflection an missed the net by whiskers resulting in three corners on the bounce. However, Churchill scored on the break from that very move. This goal was probably the last essay of Churchill in the vie. 


Mohun Bagan took over the reins of the game completely in the second-half and Churchill had simply no retorts to that. Bagan dominated on all three fronts. Both the wings and the center had a barrage of Bagan attacks, razing over the Churchill rearguard. 


Akram Moghrabi was gifted a couple of easiest opportunities when Dicka chipped the ball twice for Akram only for the Lebanese stalwart to shoot at the Churchill custodian. Even on a couple of occasions, he failed to head the ball home from close range.


Bagan could have easily won the match by a much more comprehensive margin only if they could have been a little more clinical.


4. Willis Plaza seemed to be a Titan redivivus

After two abysmal seasons in the colours of East Bengal, Willis Plaza donned on the raiment of Churchill for the Super Cup. Voila!!! We saw a man reformed in an absolute way possible.


He scored a screamer of a goal for Churchill after he snatched the ball from Arijit Bagui and ran all the way to the box to lob the ball deftly into the net over a hapless Shilton Paul. 


Barring this goal, every single time, Plaza received the ball, the pace which he exhibited laced with his eagle-eye for the balls, made him one of the most revered strikers on the pitch for the night.


He could have hogged the limelight only if his last-minute attempts were on target. Despite being very close to the net, they did not roll in and Churchill had to bow out of the prestigious knock-out fray.


5. Ricardo Cardozo was the difference between a half-dozen goals and Mohun Bagan

Despite being trounced twice for the night, Ricardo Cardozo deserves all the plaudits a custodian can manage. His aquiline reflexes laced with his brazen outings saved Churchill the blushes of a humiliation.


He thwarted Dicka’s penalty in the first attempt, however, the rebound was too much to be asked of him. However, post that he thwarted several Bagan attempts, diving left, right, top and bottom. 


Nikhil Kadam’s stinging piledriver was brilliantly traded for a corner by Ricardo. Akram’s shots and headers were gripped by him to keep Churchill afloat until the dying embers of the game. None of the corners of Bagan saw the light of the day only because of his towering presence under the woodwork.


To add to his heroics, he pulled off a stunning save against Faiyaz’s pile-driver down the right. Had he not been present under the woodwork, Churchill could have been hung, drawn and quartered.

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