Once again Kerala Blasters have gone down to ATK Mohun Bagan in the Indian Super League. However, the match was not a boring one-sided affair as the 5-2 scoreline implies. The difference between the two sides was in the defence. Bagan's skilful attackers made full use of the space and time offered to them by Blasters' backline.
Initially, the Kolkata side struggled to contain the attacks orchestrated by Ivan Kalyuzhnyi and Sahal Abdul Samad. Though they conceded a goal in the 6th minute, Bagan did not let it dampen their spirits. That never-say-die attitude is in the genes of some teams and Bagan is definitely one of them. They have an uncanny ability to bounce back from adversities. I'm not saying this just because I played for them!
While watching the match at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium, many happy memories of my playing days came flooding back. Nostalgia engulfed me as I remembered FC Kochin, our Durand Cup win in 1997, and my old teammates. Twenty-five years have passed since we achieved that historic feat. It was the same Mohun Bagan whom we defeated in the final. Fond memories of Raman Vijayan, Friday Elaho, and the late Carlton Chapman flashed by as I watched the Blasters mounting relentless attacks on Bagan in the first minutes of the match.
(The writer is a former captain of the Indian football team)