Kolkata pour its heart out on Kahn farewell (Lead)

May 27th, 2008 - 11:51 pm ICT by admin  

By Abhishek Roy
Kolkata, May 27 (IANS) Bayern Munich international and legendary goalkeeper Oliver Kahn’s grand farewell here was marred by on-field violence even as the visitors outplayed Mohun Bagan 3-0 in front of a packed Salt Lake stadium. The German giants left their stamp of authority with a brace from Zan Schaldrauff (18th, 52nd) and a strike from Ze Roberto (37th). A depleted Mohun Bagan, the oldest club in Asia, gave their best and went down fighting.

Ugly scenes cropped up in the last few minutes, when Bayern’s Breno was brought down outside the box by Mohun Bagan substitute Branco Cardozo in the 83rd minute.

The players lost their tempers and Breno, who is also Brazil’s under-20 captain, kicked Branco and the duo started an ugly fight on the ground. It was enough for referee Subrata Sarkar to give marching orders to both the players.

The scenes were not unusual for Kahn, who has been involved in many such incidents during his career spanning two decades. But tonight Kahn was lucky that he was not in the middle.

Kahn was substituted by coach Ottmar Heitzfield, for whom too it was a farewell match. Heitzfield will take over as the national coach of the Swiss team for the Euro.

With Kahn’s exit the packed stadium also witnessed the change of guard at Bayern as the German superstar passed on his gloves to youngster Micheal Rensing. When he started his walk, perhaps one of the longest and his last, the crowd gave a standing ovation.

Much should not be read into the performance of this exhibition match, but the score-line reflected the fighting spirit of Mohun Bagan.

Mohun Bagan’s Lal Kamal Bhowmick, who had scored the only goal against Bayern’s reserve side during the IFA Shield final in 2006, showed flashes of brilliance upfront with Lalawmpiua.

Bagan came close to reduce the scoreline on couple of occasions but paid for their profligacy.

Bhowmick’s corner kick was wasted by L. James Singh in the 12th minute. Six minutes later they paid heavily for a mistake by defender Anand Vasan, who failed to clear the ball and Schlaudraff slotted in from close quarters.

Roberto’s precise free-kick in the 37 minute didn’t give Bagan goalkeeper Sangram Mukherjee any chance to move and reminded the spectators of his compatriot Roberto Carlos’ abilities from dead ball situation.

Mukherjee, unlike his counterpart Kahn, was tested several times but his brilliant display under the bar must have impressed the German.

Schlaudraff completed his brace seven minutes after the half time from a clever pass from Christian Lell.

The standard of game displayed by Mohun Bagan against a world-class side must have warmed the hearts of football-passionate Kolkata crowd.

It was an evening to remember but the on-field scuffle left a bad taste in the mouth.

A brilliant firework ended the gala evening, which saw one of the best goalkeepers in the last decade bringing down the curtains over his illustrious career spanning over two decades in the second largest stadium of the world.

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