Whenever we are talking about Sergio Ramos, we are perhaps talking about one of the best defenders of this generation. Not only a defender but Sergio Ramos had the knack of scoring from set pieces in crunch times for Spain and Real Madrid or PSG as well. Juan Fernando and Mohun Bagan Super Giant fans feel this Indian defender can reach that level if he keeps on improving. Anwar Ali is that player.
Anwar has been superb since his arrival on the Indian football scene. The 22-year-old has already played 16 games for senior India and 85 games for different clubs in India. During these 101 games, the defender has already contributed 12 times; 9 goals and three assists, a record that any defender would take any day. This season, Anwar has already scored thrice in five games for Mohun Bagan Super Giant after he was brought into the club replacing Pritam Kotal for a massive 2.2 Cr market value. The defender scored twice against Machhindra FC in their 3-1 in the AFC Cup second-round match.
Even for Delhi FC, Anwar had scored 4 goals in 11 games and assisted three times in 32 games for FC Goa. In India jersey, the defender from Punjab scored once in his 16 games.
Anwar was again on the scoresheet scoring with a superb header from a corner provided by Ashique Kuruniyan as the Mariners defeated Mumbai City FC by 3-1 in Kolkata. He was clinical in patrolling the Mohun Bagan defence as the central defender of the team as well. Due to his defensive skills and ability to score, the green and maroon fans have started calling him the Indian Sergio Rams. Interestingly, Mohun Bagan Super Giant coach Juan Fernando seemed to agree to that as well.
"It is necessary to find space in the set pieces. I think Anwar Ali is good. When you're working on set pieces he knows the space and he attacks those spaces. He is Very good. Anwar is playing every match with passion because everybody knows, two or three years ago, it was difficult moment for him. He loves to play football," Juan Fernando said in the post-match press conference.
"Every morning when he wakes up I think he feels "I have great opportunity". He is playing with passion. He has talent obviously. He is good but it is important for him to continue improving. His level is good but I think he can improve and be at Sergio's level," Juan added.
Along with Anwar Ali, players like Hugo Boumous, and Manvir Singh were excellent for the ISL champions. However, coach Juan Fernando believes that it is not about individual performances. The most important thing for him is that everyone gives their full effort and plays like a team to win every match.
"I repeat this all the time. We have good players with a lot of talent and a lot of quality. The key is to work like a team. Do not think about yourself and give your best," Juan expressed.
After a wait of eight matches, Mohun Bagan Super Giant was finally able to break the Mumbai City FC wall. This was their first win in nine matches against the Islanders. Coach Juan Fernando was delighted with the win. As per him, they are still in pre-season and they are looking to play as many matches as possible before the season starts. Moreover, he admitted that it was not about breaking the Mumbai myth but to qualify for the semis of Durand Cup 2023.
"We are in preseason. We need to play matches. It is difficult for us because every week we have two crucial matches. The most important thing is that we recover well tomorrow and prepare for the next match. Everything is crucial in this club," Juan told the media.
"Obviously the most important thing for us is to clear the group stage of the AFC Cup. We're happy with this victory. It was a difficult match. Durand Cup is important for us and our supporters as well. The opponent was very good. Everybody knows they have players with a lot of quality. So, for us, it is good to work against these teams," the Spanish coach added.