By Debayan Mukherjee,
AIFF Media Team
Salgaocar 4 (Douhou Pierre – 35th, 89th Francis Kasonde – 77th Clifton Dias – 90+1)
Mohun Bagan 1 (Pierre Boya – 28th)
VASCO: Salgaocar rode an inspired second-half display to come from behind and waltz past Mohun Bagan 4-1 in a crucial Group B Hero Federation Cup encounter which saw the most accomplished side in the tournament bow out early, here at the Tilak Maidan on Sunday (January 4, 2015).
The carnage started in the last quarter of the match when Zambian centre-back Francis Kasonde stabbed home from close to hand the Derrick Pereira coached side the lead for the first time after Douhou Pierre had cancelled out Pierre Boya’s opening goal in the first half.
In a half completely dominated by Salgaocar, Douhou made sure of the three points which keeps them very much in contention for a semifinal berth, poking home late followed by substitute Clifton Dias who added gloss to the scoreline.
Bagan’s poor showing in the second half stretched to the third straight match as they gave away the one-goal lead Boya had given them spinning beautifully to slam home.
The heavy defeat leaves Bagan staring down the barrel with only two points from three matches while Salgaocar have one foot in the semifinal with six to show for from 3 outings. Even if the green and maroons beat Shillong Lajong in the last round of matches, they will not be able to overtake Bengaluru FC – top of the group with 7 points – and Salgaocar.
After the early exchanges offered little to rue about, Bagan took the lead courtesy a silken spin from their marquee player Boya. Revelling off a cross from Kinshuk Debnath after the right-back – playing in place of the suspended Shouvik Ghosh – got on the end of a Pankaj Moula pullback. The Cameroonian turned Francis Kasonde like he was not there to fire home past India goalkeeper Subrata Paul.
Soon after Balwant had a good chance to double the lead from Katsumi’s well taken flag kick after the Japanese playmaker had worked Paul to earn the corner. The ball landed sweetly in front of Balwant but the India striker failed to connect.
At the other end Douhou was on target moments later, placing a half-volley into the top right corner after Thangjam’s initial attempt was chopped down by a defender which then fell to the Ivorian on the rebound.
Salgaocar had the better chances after the break but Shilton was in fine form to deny Douhou and Jairu in quick succession.
Bagan on the other hand looked over-reliant on Norde-Boya partnership up front and the rock-solid Bello Rassaq at the heart of the defense. Balwant was off colour and the midfield of Lalkamal Bhowmick – taking the place of an ineffective Pankaj Moula in the first half – and Denson Devadas failing to pull the strings to good effect.
Salgaocar took full advantage and deflated their rivals’ vulnerable ship completely in the last 15 minutes.
A short corner by Jairu found Thangjam who whipped the ball in for Duffy who head goalwards which was blocked by Shilton. But the Bagan custodian could not get enough power on it as Kasonde was at hand to nail the rebound.
The lead taken, Salgaocar went full throttle. Douhou notched up his brace riding a flurry of attacks at the Bagan citadel. An attack from the right saw Gilbert Oliviera play Douhou in at the top of the box. The former Pune FC man rounded two defenders to tuck in falling down on his follow through.
But his team stood firm and had it not been for the superb Shilton in Bagan goal, there could have been more goals.
Rosario Mendes – replacing Pawan Kumar in the second half -- exchanged passes with Gilbert and Douhou who relayed it to a lurking Clifton. The substitute’s attempt took a deflection off the keeper but rolled in.
Posted on : Sunday January 04, 2015