Kolkata, 10 September
A few enjoyable goals were punctuated in regular intervals by some feckless football in Mohun Bagan’s opening fixture of the Calcutta Footfall League. Getting past Railway FC shouldn’t have been a problem for the maidan giants and the match played out true to script as they ran out 4-1 victors .
The Mariners played a lot of entertaining football, especially in the attacking third, as playmaker Katsumi Yusa coupled well with medio Adil Ahmed Khan who had a sterling game.
Scoring began all too early, in the opening minute itself, as the Railway ‘keeper misjudged the flight of a cross from the right wing and saw the ball being nodded into the net by a grateful Sabeeth. Adil was pulling the strings in midfield and was quick to discover the opposing custodian’s weakness against the long range shot. His well-placed strike from some distance away found the bottom-right corner of the net and the score was 2-0 inside the first 15 minutes.
Mohun Bagan were playing some gorgeous stuff at this point of time and were threatening a deluge.
The hapless Railway defenders were playing a dangerously high line and Moun Bagan attackers were discovering gaping holes behind them as some dexterous through passes were being executed. On one occasion a certain goal was missed as four quick attempts on the goal from one move was somehow kept out, once with the help of the bar. However, as play settled down, the Mariners themselves slacked and Railways started asserting themselves. Some delightful touches and one-twos came to naught though. However, they were enjoying their best spell of the game and the goal came in first-half stoppage time. It was perhaps the best goal of the game as striker Orok Essien, with his back to the goal, turned in one motion, easily getting rid of defender Aiborlang Khongjee and blasted it home.
It was 2-1 and some enterprise had returned to the action.
However, the second half was much more listless in its denouement. Apart from two more goals. One was a stunning long ranger his from way out in the center of the park. Manish Bhargav controlled the ball and let it rip, the keeper was again found wanting. The Mariners added a fourth through Sabeeth and could have scored more.
Lots of positives to take away then for Karim Bencherifa, Katsumi, for one, showed his immense class and compelling ball control, his only criticism would be that he sometimes gets too subtle and intricate for his own good.
They are in a good place in terms of attacking prowess, but one worrying sign could be the tendency of the backline to go to sleep; the Mariners should be wary of that.


Kolkata, 10 September
For months United SC have struggled to find a sponsor to fund their ambitious line-up of players and coaches. Indeed, they are yet to land a main sponsor as talks with some major conglomerates have come to naught.
The repercussions: they cannot field a team for tomorrow’s opening day fixture in the Calcutta Football League against George Telegraph who will walk away with all three points. In it’s place, Mohammedan SC will take on Aryan as a result of  a hurried rescheduling conducted by the IFA. It is learnt that United are making do with some associate sponsors and are in the process of building a team for the season. However, Indian Football Association rules stipulate that a team have to register their players before a specific date (21 July in this case) for it to take part in the opening match.
United had failed to register even a single player before the deadline and are thus forced to forfeit tomorrow’s match. It is to be seen whether the team ~ very recently touted as the next big thing in Indian football ~ can pull together enough resources to hold on to star players such as Ranty Martins and top coach Eelco Schattorie.  When contacted, Alokesh Kundu of United SC said all the players have stood by the club in these troubled times and a complete squad has been registered. He is hopeful of landing a sponsor very soon.