Kolkata: One of the longest-serving foreigners in the country, Jose Ramirez Barreto led Mohun Bagan to a 2-0 win over Pune FC in their last I-League fixture to bid an emotional farewell to the club which he represented 398 times from his association since 1999-2000 season.
Mohun Bagan finished their I-League engagements with 47 points while Pune had to settle for 46.
Barreto was leading the side with perfection right from the start as he gave a brilliant sixth minute goal, while the current Mohun Bagan heart-throb and Nigerian goal machine Odafa Okolie completed the tally with an 89th minute goal to make it really memorable.
The 30,000-odd crowd gave a standing ovation to Barreto as he was adjudged man-of-the-match in his last appearance for Mohun Bagan.
The Brazilian's spectacular left-foot finish from a Hudson Lima pass from the left flank was enough to get past a diving Pune FC goalkeeper Subrata Pal on his left, something that brought the lively crowd on to their feet.
The Brazilian was all charged up as the crowd chanted 'Barreto, Barreto' as he led the side in his swansong match for Mohun Bagan. He even argued with the referee Santosh Kumar from Kerala to get across his point to entertain the crowd.
Apart from occasional sparks from the visitors, Mohun Bagan dominated the proceedings.
In fact, they could have easily scored at least a couple of more goals but Pune FC defence stood out with two brilliant goalline saves.
Karma Tsewang thwarted a fine attempt by Sunil Chhetri four minutes after Barreto's strike.
In the 54th minute Anas Edathodika made another goalline save from a combined effort by Barreto and Odafa Okolie.
Pune FC muffed a fine chance in the 17th minute when Sriram Venkatesh could not finish after Mohun Bagan's Rakesh Masih fumbled from an Othallo Tabia cross.
Substitute Mandjou Keita, who replaced Izumi Arata, almost broke the hearts of Mohun Bagan but his shot was wayward and the home side held their slender lead.
Barreto was seen playing with a cramp midway into the second half but technical director Subrata Bhattacharya ensured that the Brazilian play the full match to win the hearts of green and maroon supporters.
Just when it looked to to finish with Barreto's goal, Odafa made his presence felt with a powerful left-footer that was set up brilliantly by Syed Rahim Nabi from the midfield.
Story first published on: Sunday, 06 May 2012 18:12 IST