Although, Prayag United ended their 2011-12 campaign without adding any silverware to their cabinet, they surely made people to stand up and take notice of them in almost every tournament in which they participated. Finishing as the Runners -up in both Duand Cup and IFA Shield along with a top four finish in the Federation Cup is no mean feat for a club which had a number of players who were playing in the club for the very first time.

With forty two points, Prayag United finished their I-league campaign on seventh position (one spot below what we had predicted at the start of the season) much to the disappointment of their fans – especially after they enjoyed a nine game unbeaten streak at the start of the season. Picking up a win against the eventual champions Dempo SC and pulling up a league double over Mohun Bagan were the highlights of their I-League campaign. If players like Yakubu and Lalkamal Bhowmick – who had an exceptional year with the purple brigade – had not missed out on a number of matches due to injuries, Prayag United could have finished the league much higher than their current seventh spot.

As far as the domestic state league is concerned, Prayag ended their season with yet another podium place finish as they ended their CFL Premier League campaign on third spot with eighteen points only behind the mighty East Bengal and Mohun Bagan.

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Key Highlights

  • Finished Runners-up in both Durand Cup and the IFA Shield.
  • Defeating Mohun Bagan in all of their meetings (two in I-League and one in CFL) this season.
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The Low- blows

  • Dropping points against the teams from the bottom half of the table.
  • Inability to cope up with injuries to their key players.
  • Losing momentum in the second half of the season.
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Star Performer of The Season: Lalkamal Bhowmick

Despite missing out on a number of matches due to injury, Prayag United’s skipper Lalkamal Bhowmick had one of his best spells on the pitch this season as he had the biggest influence on the midfield linking up brilliantly with the strikers and the backline. His importance for his side could be gauged from the fact that it was only after he got injured and was rested for Prayag’s tenth I-league match that their dream run of nine unbeaten matches came to an end. His partnership with midfield partner Denson Devadas was widely appreciated as well. Lalkamal was always in the thick of the action for his side and as a result he even got called up for national duty.

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Bhowmick: If only he was not injured

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Goal of The Season : Deepak Mondal

Veteran defender Deepak Mondal, who was deemed a surplus to the requirement in Mohun Bagan squad at the end of last season, came up with a world-class strike to dump his old club. With the game tied at 1-1 by the hour mark, the AIFF Player of the Year – 2002 produced a scintillating right-footer from approximately 30 yards out which left Sangram Mukherjee shell-shocked and crashed on to the back of Mohun Bagan net. “Old is Gold”, indeed! Those, who reckon this proverb to be a cliché– should have a look at this fabulous strike.

Flop of The Season: Lack of Bench Strength

Prayag United started of the season with an exceptional undefeated streak of nine games but as the season progressed, the shortcomings in Prayag United were clearly evident. Prayag United were caught napping whenever their key players Lalkamal Bhowmick and Yusif Yakubu  were out injured as they did not have any suitable replacements. Their stand in midfielder and strikers just failed to click together and Prayag looked like a different side altogether in the second half of the season due to which they slipped several spots in the table.

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Match of The Season

Prayag United SC 3-2 Mohun Bagan AC

Prayag United met the mighty Mohun Bagan three times this season and emerged victorious on all three occasions. In their first encounter with the Green and Maroons, Prayag twice came from behind to win by three goals to two which has been picked by TheHardTackle as Prayag’s match of the season.

Prayag United met Mohun Bagan for the first time this season in the seventh round of the I-league at the Salt lake stadium in the month of November.  Despite Prayag starting off as the aggressors, it was Mohun Bagan who were in the lead by the twentieth minute.  Absence of Barreto and Jewel Raja was working in favour of Prayag but Josimar’s inability to finish the moves was acting as a road block for Prayag United. Finally in the 41st minute Prayag were awarded for their persistence as Shankar Oraon slotted in a Josimar rebound which fell at his feet after hitting the crossbar.

Mohun Bagan quickly restored their lead in the first minute of the second half through Odafa’s strike but their joy was short lived as Yakubu restored the parity yet again when he converted from the spot in the 56th minute after Bagan’s Kingshuk Debnath handled the ball inside their box.  Mohun Bagan were yet to recover from Prayag’s second equaliser as Yakubu scored his second and his club’s third in a space of two minutes from skipper Lalkamal’s corner to give Prayag United the lead in the Kolkata derby. Yakubu’s twin strikes completely rattled Mohun Bagan and the Mariners never recovered from it as the match ended in favour of Prayag United.

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Most Disappointing Match of The Season

Churchill Brothers SC 5-2 Prayag United SC

Prayag suffered their biggest defeat of the I-League campaign when they travelled to Goa to take on Churchill Brothers in the 22nd round of the campaign. Churchill opened the scoring through Beto and the Brazilian Maestro quicly doubled his side’s lead in the 35th minute.  Yakubu got one back for Prayag United couple of minutes before the halftime but an own goal by Sukhen Dey restored Churchill’s two goal advantage before the halftime whistle. Henry and Ralte added two more to Churchill’s tally in the second half. Josimar reduced the gap seven minute from time but by then the game had already been decided.

Best XI of The Season