Thank God! There was no dark moment
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AFTER a gap of 16 months, the Kolkata derby was played under lights on Sunday and given Salt Lake Stadium's notorious history of plunging into darkness during big games, a touch of uncertainty always hanged over the proceedings.
The lights shone bright throughout the IFA Shield semi final as the match went into extra-time after the two teams — Mohun Bagan and East Bengal — were locked 1-1 (CS Sabeeth's goal was cancelled out by East Bengal's substitute centre forward Adrian Barisic in the dying minutes) in the regulated 90 minutes. Eventually, penalty shootout decided the tie with East Bengal winning 4-2 and reaching the final. But the IFA and administration ended up being the bigger winners.
Security, too, was an area of concern in the wake of last December's violence.
But it was heartening to see that police had learnt from their mistakes. Three-layer security cover was in place. Fans were not allowed to carry even water bottles; and for a change, the stewards keep their eyes on the crowd.
Little wonder that Sports Minister Madan Mitra was all smiles after the match. "Crowd was the man of the match tonight. Police did a fantastic job.It was a big test for us and we passed it successfully," he said.