Mohun Bagan Super Giant defeated the defending League Shield winners Mumbai City FC in the Indian Super League (ISL) on Monday to dethrone them and take their crown in front of a packed Salt Lake stadium that oozed a thousand emotions across the evening. 

The Mariners thus laid their hands on their first-ever League Shield bringing an end to a few years of wait and have now won their third trophy in the space of a year after the ISL Cup and the Durand Cup. 

The Kolkata Giants had their work cut out on Monday and had to beat Mumbai City FC who had won the Shield in record-breaking fashion last year. Petr Kratky’s men were in scintillating form having lost just twice before their visit to Kolkata. So, the pressure was all on the home side who knew even a draw would end their chances of becoming champions. 

History also weighed heavily in the favour of the visitors who had never lost to Mohun Bagan SG in the ISL. But to achieve something you have never achieved you must do something you have never done. And Antonio Habas’ men obliged. 

A stunner from Liston Colaco in the first half opened up the possibilities for the Mariners as the crowd got going. A second strike from substitute Jason Cummings further strengthened their position but they had to overcome a huge late scare when Lalianzualla Chhangte halved the deficit for the visitors and Brendan Hamill saw red. The ten-man Mariners held on for their dear life and saw off the danger. They survived but were also reincarnated. Their new life as ISL champions began as the referee drew the league stage to a close with the full-time whistle.

Mumbai City FC were beaten at last. They were defeated at the hands of Mohun Bagan Super Giant. The Kolkata giants had to do it the hard way. It was only the second instance where they had scored multiple times against the Islanders. A new era was unleashed. 

The League Shield wasn’t the only accolade that the Mariners had beaten the team from the financial capital to. The three points meant Mohun Bagan took their points tally to 48 which is now an all-time ISL record for most points recorded by a team, surpassing the Islanders’ 47. 

Golden touch Colcaco, inevitable Petratos and everpresent Bose

The players were showered with love from the Mohun Bagan fans who partied with them late into the evening and rightly so. They had almost delivered perfection. That is what was needed to beat a team like Mumbai City FC. 

Colaco the star of the day is the man with the golden touch for the Mariners. Whenever he scores, the Mariners rejoice. They are now unbeaten in all 13 matches in which he has found the back of the net, winning 12 of those games and drawing just one. So, when the Goan scores, the party kicks off in Kolkata. 

However, the most important player in the Mariners’ ranks was the one who set up Colaco and Cummings for their goals. Dimitri Petratos. The man who scored twice for Mohun Bagan SG in last year’s final against Bengaluru FC assisted twice against Mumbai City FC on Monday and is their man for the big occasion. But a glance at the numbers would tell you that he is the man for every occasion. 

It was the seventh straight match in which Petratos has recorded a goal contribution (either a goal or an assist) which is the longest such streak by a Mohun Bagan SG player in the ISL and the third-best overall. 

He now has more goal contributions for the Kolkata Giants than any other player with 35 going past Roy Krishna who had 33 to his name. His 22 goals and 13 assists have delivered the League Shield and the ISL Cup for Mohun Bagan SG. 

The Mariners’ strength lies in their attack which is signified by their tally of 47 goals this season but their defence too has been solid lately and one man has been a constant in their back line. 

Captain Subhasish Bose threw himself on the line to thwart the Islanders' attack on multiple occasions and has been one of the most consistent players in the ISL. With another 90 minutes under his belt, Bose clocked 1942 minutes for the Mariners this season which is the most by an outfield player in the ISL. Only Gurpreet Singh Sandhu and Vishal Kaith (1980 minutes each, both goalkeepers) have appeared more. 

This feat is a testament to his fitness and consistency as he has also been a key player for the national team during this period. 

Mohun Bagan SG won't have too much time to celebrate this triumph as they begin the defence of their ISL Cup in the next few days, but their League Shield win is a story that deserves to be told over and over again.