Peerless SC are at the top of the Calcutta Premier Division A table after a 1-0 win over East Bengal FC. Mohun Bagan win two-in-a-row to climb to second spot, Bhowanipore FC drops to third, while Mohammedan SC huff-and-puff their way to fourth.
Peerless to create history?
Since 1959 the Calcutta League has been shared between three teams – East Bengal, Mohun Bagan, and Mohammedan Sporting. While Mohammedan isn’t the force it used to be, winning the league has been a matter of bragging rights for the fans of East Bengal and Mohun Bagan.
This season the fans of the “Big Three” are looking over their shoulders, for there is a new sheriff in town: Peerless SC.
Having beaten Mohun Bagan early in the season, Peerless has cemented their authority in Kolkata by beating East Bengal, a rare feat for any club in the Calcutta Premier Division. To cap it all, they are at the top of the table.
The match was played under slushy conditions at the East Bengal Grounds following a downpour midway through the first half. Peerless opted to play on the counter – a ploy which frustrated the home side. East Bengal could have gone ahead in the 36th minute when Marcos Espada’s header hit the post off Dika’s freekick.
In the 65th minute, Peerless got their reward. East Bengal defender Kamalpreet Singh brought down Pankaj Moula inside the box and the referee pointed towards the penalty spot.
Ansumana Kromah stepped up to score his eighth goal of the tournament.
Peerless slowed the game down much to East Bengal’s frustration. The match reached a boiling point in injury time when East Bengal’s players led by Colado got into a scuffle and vented their frustrations towards the Peerless goalkeeper Arup Debnath.
There were more ugly scenes to follow as the East Bengal fans were accused to throwing projectiles at an opposition player who was being stretchered out. This prompted the police to take action and the fans were reported injured in the melee.
More chaos followed when a member of East Bengal’s team management allegedly got into a scuffle with the officials. This prompted further police action. The East Bengal coach Alejandro Menendez later condemned the police action in a press conference.
Two down, one to go
In the previous season, Peerless finished in second place. They failed to beat the Kolkata trio of East Bengal, Mohun Bagan, and Mohammedan Sporting. This season is past the halfway mark, Peerless has beaten both title contenders and is yet to face a faltering Mohammedan SC.
Whisper it softly, the possibility of a non-‘Big Three’ team winning the CFL for the first time since 1958 could be a reality.
Mohun Bagan go about their business
Mohun Bagan has quietly displaced Bhawanipore Club and George Telegraph off the top of the Calcutta Premier Division table with back-to-back wins.
The first match against the erstwhile table toppers, Bhowanipore, was effectively sealed within the hour mark. Romario Jesuraj (29′) and Naorem (56′) scored in the 2-0 win. A red card for Bhowanipore’s Anup Das helped the Mariners see the match off and collect three points.
The second match was against last week’s second-placed team, George Telegraph. Mohun Bagan came off 4-0 winners at the end, but George Telegraph did have their moments with Joel Sunday and Justice Morgan providing the Mohun Bagan backline a few awkward moments.
VP Suhair opened the scoring in the 16th minute, while Salva Chamorro doubled the lead in the 34th. It was only in the 71st minute that the match was put to bed, courtesy Nongdomba Naorem’s stunner. Naorem provided the assist for the last goal scored by Francisco Gonzalez. 4-0 and the Mariners go to second place with 11 points.
CFL Premier Division A Table
For this season, the format is a league + knockout tournament. 14 teams will be divided into two groups and top three from each group will earn a direct quarter final berth. The remaining eight will then play with each other and the top two will complete the last-eight teams. The eight teams will enter the quarterfinals in the knockout stage.
|1||Bhawanipore FC (Q)||5||3||2||0||11||11||7||4|
|2||United Sports Club (Q)||5||3||1||1||10||8||5||3|
|3||BSS Sporting Club (Q)||5||3||1||1||10||10||7||3|
|7||SC East Bengal (DNP)||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|1||Peerless SC (Q)||5||3||1||1||10||11||5||6|
|2||Calcutta Customs (Q)||5||3||1||1||10||10||4||6|
|3||George Telegraph SC (Q)||5||2||3||0||9||6||3||3|
|7||ATK Mohun Bagan (DNP)||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
Mohammedan slip and get back up
Mohammedan Sporting Club remained unbeaten in Calcutta Premier Division after a 3-1 win over Kalighat Milan Sangha at the Mohammedan Sporting Ground. A brace by Arthur Kouassi and an all-round show by Vanlalbiaa Chhangte secured the three points for the Black Panthers.
Kouassi scored in the 2nd minute and the 37th minute. Chhangte with the assist for the second goal. A penalty in injury time reduced the deficit for Kalighat. Alexander Kouame the goalscorer. The match ended the way it started with Mohammedan scoring through Chhangte in the very last minute.
However, a 1-1 draw with Calcutta Customs earlier in the week put a dampener on Mohammedan’s bid to win the title they last won in 1981.
Customs opened the scoring Rajon Barman in the 25th minute. Mohammed Amirul saved Mohammedan SC the blushes with the equalizer in the 76th minute.
Curiously, Mohammedan SC is the only unbeaten team in the league so far, but four draws and two wins does not help their cause. Especially when they are yet to face East Bengal, Mohun Bagan and Peerless SC.