A crowd of 120,000 packed the Salt Lake Stadium in Calcutta on Tuesday to watch German giants Bayern Munich take on Indian side Mohun Bagan.
The exhibition match, which also marked the retirement of Bayern goalkeeper Oliver Kahn, was organised as part of the German team’s social responsibilities towards Asian nations.
Bayern's abilities proved too much for their Indian counterparts, and the German side emerged 3-0 victors. Ironically, Kahn, the centre of all attraction, remained idle for most of part of his 54-minute stay on the field. Bayern's class was evident when Ze Roberto, the Brazilian veteran World Cup star, scored the second goal in the 37th minute. The brilliant free-kick, taken with the left foot, swung past the wall created by Bagan defenders. Sangram Mukherjee, the Mohun Bagan custodian, didn't even get the chance to react.
Mohun Bagan gave a good account of themselves, at least whenever possible under the circumstances. With Mark van Bommel, Jan Schlaudraff and Ze Roberto in full flow, the Mohun players found it difficult to thwart the quality attacks that stormed their defence time and again.
Mohun Bagan did stitch a few attacks and a couple of them could have resulted in goals. But the Bayern defence knew when to intervene and did it firmly when the situation demanded.
Schlaudraff opened the scoring in the 19th minute when he cashed in on a defensive lapse. He scored the third goal too, taking his tally in the Asian tour to five.
Bayern's Dutch star Van Bommel said the heat was a hindrance to good football. "This wasn't the best weather to show your skill," he said. "But, then, it was a great experience to play in Calcutta. I thank all the football fans here to come and support us with such great enthusiasm."