Kolkata side Kalighat Milan Sangha made a strong start to their Durand Cup campaign,easing past Army Green 4-1 at the Ambedkar stadium on Tuesday. It wasn’t a particularly good day for Army teams as Assam Regimental Centre also lost 4-0 to Mumbai Tigers in the second match of the day.
Army Green,unlike compatriots Army Red,who beat fancied Pune FC in the tournament opener on Monday,looked out of sorts right from the word go,against a Kalighat side who were technically stronger and who shared better understanding amongst each other. The Army team suffered their first blow in the tenth minute as Kalighat got the reward for building sustained pressure early on. Midfielder Pahoom Biswas received a through ball from the right flank and advanced further up to reach the Army Green box. Biswas couldn’t pass on further as no other player was positioned so he took the initiative and sent a left footed scorcher which crossed the line after taking a deflection off the cross bar.
Army Green though went for the breather a goal down but found a lifeline with an equaliser off a free kick in the 47th minute. As Deepak Shreashtha took the shot from the right flank,Nigil Raj quickly made space and beat his marking defender in the air to head the ball in the net. But their moment of glory didn’t last longer for Army Green as they conceded their second goal in the 50th minute.
This time it was Kalighat who benefitted off a set piece. Once the free kick was taken,Kalighat’s Nigerian duo showed a commendable chemistry between them as initially Charies Dzisah cross headed the flying ball to Joel Sunday who headed it again to double the lead.
The Army team to their credit stayed positive and their efforts nearly paid off. Starting from 63rd minute,there was a flurry of attacks by the Army Green side. They penetrated the Kalighat defence thrice in three minutes making use of their flanks but their lack of finishing saw them shoot harmlessly over the bar. Kalighat could also be faulted in this period as having taken the lead,they surprisingly went into a defensive shell.
It took the 69th minute substitutution of Shuvojit Hazra which saw the Kolkata side go on the attack once again.Come the 75th minute,Joel Sunday scored his brace to put Kalighat three goals ahead. Sunday displayed a solo effort from the right flank thereby making inroads into the box and sent a powerfool left footerin the left corner of the Army Green post.
Two minutes later,it was the substitute Hazra who replicated the Nigerian’s successful run. The only difference was that his effort began from the midfield. Having received a clear ball,his run was untouched by any defender before he beat the keeper and fired the fourth into an empty goal. Coach Arun Ghosh was happy with his team’s performance,”It is our ninth staright match in 12 days. We were playing the Kolkata Premier league and it feels good to see the players giving their 100 percent.”