Legacy Tifo: Mohun Bagan Fans Celebrate Icons, Petratos’ Rise

Mohun Bagan's Legacy Tifo and Dimi Petratos
Mohun Bagan’s Legacy Tifo and Dimi Petratos (PC: Snehasis Mukherjee/ISL)

Mohun Bagan Super Giant (MBSG) delivered another top performance when it mattered most on Sunday as they defeated Odisha FC (OFC) 2-0 at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata. After losing the first leg of the semi-final 2-1 at Bhubaneswar, the Green and Maroon brigade brought joy to the home fans as they edged past Sergio Lobera’s men 3-2 in aggregate. Thus, they qualified for the final of this ongoing Indian Super League (ISL).

After winning the Durand Cup and ISL Shield, they have now managed another final and their dream of a domestic treble is on. During the last league phase game between MBSG and Mumbai City FC (MCFC), around 61,000 fans were in the gallery and they witnessed history by watching Antonio Lopez Habas’ men lifting the Shield for the first time in their history! So, it was expected that during the second leg of the semi-final, fans would turn up. And they did.

62007 was the official attendance and the atmosphere was electric which definitely helped the home side as the 12th man. Mohun Bagan chants, and songs were all over the stadium and they made sure that every time Roy Krishna, Ahmed Jahouh and other Odisha players got the ball, they would feel the pressure of being in their fortress! Several tifos were there as Mohun Bagan fan clubs put those up before the game started. But there was a tifo that left fans happy and emotional.

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Mohun Bagan's Legacy Tifo
Mohun Bagan’s Legacy Tifo (PC: Snehasis Mukherjee)

It was written “Continuing the legacy and passing the baton” on the tifo along with the image of a baton being passed from Jose Ramirez Barreto to Odafa Okolie to Sony Norde and then, Dimi Petratos. It was evident how much Petratos is being loved by the fans as they are considering him in the same line along with these Mohun Bagan legends like Barreto, Odafa, and Sony Norde! For a historical club like MBSG, many top-quality players have donned this jersey over the years.

But players like Barreto, Odafa, and Sony managed to create a special space in fans’ heart due to their contribution both on and off the field. The way they played their heart out for this club and the passion they showed every time when they stepped out on the field, it was unbelievable. Even off the field, they had great interactions with the fans and a mutual respect always. In the last three years, this club has witnessed some huge moments and Dimi Petratos is one of the reasons. The way Dimi has managed to perform consistently whether it is as an out-and-out striker or a number 10 or sometimes, a winger, is outrageous. He always speaks highly about the crazy fandom that MBSG have and that mutual respect has earned him a place among the club legends.

Petratos also has the knack of scoring those crucial goals in a crunch situation in a big match like these legends did on numerous occasions! Remember that equaliser against arch-rival East Bengal at this same Salt Lake Stadium and then, the famous “Sten Gun” celebration of Sony Norde that he brought back, fans went crazy and nostalgic. It worked like magic and Petratos is now the apple of these fans’ eyes. Yesterday, he did not score but it was another passionate performance.

Dimitri Petratos with Player of the Month award
Dimitri Petratos with Player of the Month award (PC: ISL)

Petratos recently became the second player in this ISL season to win back-to-back Player of the Month awards (March and April), following Kerala Blasters’ Adrian Luna’s feat in October and November. It has been an extraordinary season for the Aussie with 16 goal involvements in 20 league games (10 goals, 6 assists). Now, as per ISL’s decided rule, the final will be at Kolkata because Mohun Bagan finished the group stage at the top and the final is to be played at the venue of the higher-ranked teams who will be in the final.

During the post-match press, MBSG head coach, Habas said: “We are fighting to get the maximum trophies for the supporters. I’m proud of the supporters. This link with the team is very important for us, for the city and evidently for Mohun Bagan (SG). When we need more (motivation) to win the match, it’s the supporters (who help us).” So, another great night of football awaits Kolkata as a huge number of fans are again expected as Mohun Bagan Super Giant will look to complete a historical domestic treble in front of their home crowd!

For the writer, the transition from a fan to a journalist covering the match, it has been a roller coaster ride! As a fan, I witnessed all these legends and now, as a journalist, when I see these fans cheering for Petratos and instead of feeling that pressure, the Aussie enjoys it most of the time and delivers a solid performance on the field to give more reasons to love him. It is not an easy task to don this heavyweight jersey and perform game after game but this might be the magic, the love, the mutual respect every fans and players want! This might be the thing for which players live for!

Also Read: ISL 2023-24 || Mohun Bagan overturn deficit, reach ISL final