Dipanda Dicka brace helps Mohun Bagan do the I-League double over East Bengal

Dipanda Dicka, scorer of a brace in Mohun Bagan’s 2-0 win over East Bengal in the second Kolkata derby of the I-League season, said his side could have won 8-0

football Updated: Jan 21, 2018 22:22 IST
Dhiman Sarkar
Dhiman Sarkar
Kolkata
I-League,Dipanda Dicka,Kolkata derby
Dipanda Dicka (no. 9, green-and-maroon) scored a brace as Mohun Bagan defeated East Bengal 2-0 in the second Kolkata derby of the I-League season on Sunday.(Samir Jana/HT Photo)

The journey from derision to delight took Dipanda Dicka 55 seconds. His second goal came in the 34th minute and was even more sumptuous. The Mohun Bagan fans who would taunt him even at training will now worship the ground he walks on; one of them kissed Dicka’s feet at the media conference area.

The I-League may still be a bridge too far, but after outmuscling and outmanoeuvering their biggest opponents at the Salt Lake stadium on Sunday, Mohun Bagan may have jeopardised East Bengal’s bid to win it for the first time too.

Mohun Bagan won 2-0 to move to fourth in the standings on 16 points from 10 games. But the ‘derby double’ could have come in a goal rush. Nikhil Kadam hit the upright in second-half stoppage time and hurried his shot in the 45th after being put in the clear by Dicka. With little luck, Akram Moghrabi, Cameron Watson and Sheikh Faiaz too could have scored. “I think we could have won 8-0,” said Dicka after dedicating his goals to the injured Sony Norde who was in the stands.

So imperious were Mohun Bagan that to run down the clock, they played keep-ball in the East Bengal back third.

From the time Dicka struck, banging home with East Bengal central defenders Arnab Mondal and Eduardo Ferreira on either side, after Moghrabi laid down Kadam’s delivery, East Bengal looked like they were caught in a hurricane.

The early goal, the coaches agreed, was the turning point but chasing the game without Mahmoud Al Amna, who limped off after a crunching tackle from Raynier Fernandes that started the move for the first goal inside Mohun Bagan’s half, was a double whammy East Bengal couldn’t cope with.

Dicka’s second, scored with a spectacular volley facing his own goal, was the sucker-punch. It came off Fernandes’ corner-kick which swerved away from Mondal and the 28-year-old Cameroonian connected perfectly to take pole position in the race for the golden boot with seven goals. “It was the best goal of my career,” said Dicka.

The goals buttressed a well-drilled team game that made Mohun Bagan’s ordinary run seem like a bad dream. They dominated in every area of the pitch and looked more threatening during set-pieces. East Bengal’s only chance came in the 88th minute through a Dudu Omagbemi header.

“Maybe I put out the wrong team. Maybe our preparation was wrong. East Bengal didn’t deserve this and this is all my fault,” said East Bengal coach Khalid Jamil whose team stays on 19 points from 11 games.

If Omagbemi was peripheral, Moghrabi throbbed with life. So did Cameron Watson, who marshalled the midfield like he was born to do that, and Kinshuk Debnath and Kingsley Eze in central defence. But they were first among equals in a collective show that had Kadam, Fernandes, Faiaz, Ricky Lallawmawma and Arijit Bagui putting in shifts they would be proud of.

“In all the time Sony was injured, a Mohun Bagan team was getting ready. It was just that no one noticed,” said Mohun Bagan coach Sankarlal Chakraborty.

Full time score: Mohun Bagan 2-0 East Bengal (Dipanka Dicka - 1st, 34th).

First Published: Jan 21, 2018 19:51 IST