An East Bengal legend’s son broke the red-and-gold hearts, playing for Mohun Bagan. Kiyan Nassiri, son of former East Bengal striker Jamshid Nassiri, announced his arrival in Indian football, scoring a hat-trick for ATK Mohun Bagan at the return-leg Indian Super League derby against SC East Bengal in Goa on Saturday. The green-and-maroon came back from a goal down to win the match 3-1.
Back in the 1980s, Jamshid was a star forward for East Bengal, forming a deadly partnership with Majid Bishkar. They came from Iran and especially Majid lit up the Kolkata maidan with his soccer sorcery. Jamshid was a typical marksman, always ready to pounce on goal-scoring opportunities. While Majid returned to Iran after a short but dazzling career that eventually fell by the wayside, his friend adopted this country and Kiyan was born here as an Indian citizen 21 years ago.
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Jamshid never played for Bagan. Back then, the Kolkata giants had a policy of not recruiting any foreigner. Kiyan, though, is a Bagan player through and through, a product of the club’s youth system. He appeared for the senior team trial during the 2019-20 season, impressed then Bagan coach Kibu Vicuna and made his debut in the I-League. Following the club’s merger with ATK, Kiyan moved into the ISL.
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And what a night he had, as a super-sub. Coach Juan Ferrando rolled the dice on 61 minutes, with his team trailing by a goal. ATK Mohun Bagan’s talisman Roy Krishna was only fit enough to be on the bench. But Ferrando resisted the temptation to bring him on, introducing Kiyan instead as Deepak Tangri’s replacement.
The equaliser came on 64 minutes, Kiyan slotting home with his first touch of the game. Liston Colaco’s cross from the left was blocked by Sourav Das but the ball ricocheted to Kiyan, who pounced on it, like his father, intelligently targeting the far post.
His second goal came in the added-on time. An attempted cross from Colaco dipped and hit the woodwork and went to Kiyan, in the right place at the right time. It was heartbreak for SC East Bengal, who were pretty resolute until their defenders ran out of steam. They also deserved their lead on 56 minutes, through Darren Sidoel.
But it was a night when the ISL witnessed the emergence of a star, Kiyan completing his hat-trick deep into the added-on time, once again a poacher’s strike, from a Manvir Singh assist. The youngster also saved senior striker David Williams’ blushes, who missed a penalty on 67 minutes.