For the second time against Chirag United this season, Mohun Bagan were let down by an angry young man. If the team had sent out a message that irresponsible behaviour of the Edeh Chidi kind wouldn't be tolerated, Surkumar Singh hadn't heard it. Or had forgotten 40 minutes into the city's first match of the third ONGC I-League.
If Chidi's headbutting Eduardo Chacon reduced Mohun Bagan's manpower in the IFA Shield semifinal, on Monday it was Surkumar's flurry of kicks on Gouranga Biswas near the centre circle that led to a direct red card. Referee Pratap Singh also booked seven players to show who's the boss. And unlike in the IFA Shield semifinal, this time Chirag United made their superiority count.
Two goals in three minutes from Josimar Martin, both products of botched attempts at setting offside traps, meant Mohun Bagan would relive the nightmare of a horrible start. One that saw defensive blemishes and had Jose Barreto limping off in the 25th minute.
Even as Sangram Mukherjee barrelled into the big Brazilian striker, Martin headed home Shylo Malsawmtluanga's ball to put Chirag United in front. Again finding Sangram as the last man standing, he scored with a calm placement.
Rakesh Masih's header, off a Marcos Perreira corner-kick, put some life back into Mohun Bagan and with a better sense of direction Chidi, left transfixed after his first-half drive ricocheted off Manas Das as Chirag United goalie Sandip Nandy watched helplessly, could have restored parity. The scoreline could also have been altered had a Chidi attempt not been ruled off-side.
Again with Nandy looking lost and the Chirag United backline as chaotic as Kolkata traffic, Chidi shot wide. Soon after, a Perreira free-kick bounced in front of Nandy but none of the two Mohun Bagan players at hand could get to it in time.
Chirag United too contributed to the opener being an array of mistakes. Edmilson Marques broke past Rakesh Masih early but with only the goalie to beat, couldn't get a proper connection. When he did run past Deepak Mondal, who had a forgettable match, Sangram felled him and Marques made no mistake with the penalty.
It brought the teams on level terms after Mohun Bagan forged ahead somewhat fortuitously, an Ishfaq Ahmed floater grazing Jayanta Sen's head at the near post and changing direction.
But the man suffering from maximum settling-down pangs was Nandy. Be it leaving his line, staying put or collecting, Nandy would like to forget this evening at the Yuba Bharati Krirangan in a hurry.
It was testimony to the error-strewn game this was that he wasn't made to pay for any of his blunders.