East Bengal won a hard-fought game defeating the young Indian Arrows 1-2 in the 60th game of the 12th I-League at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar today.
Laldanmawia (penalty) and Jobby Justin scored for East Bengal in the 26th and 64th minute, respectively, while Ninthoi was the lone scorer for Indian Arrows in the 90th minute through a penalty. Jobby Justin was adjudged the Hero of the Match.
The first part of the half saw both teams making equal attempts but the strong defence line of the young Indian Arrows and the experience of East Bengal ensured that neither of the teams got any clear chance to score. A large portion of the game that was being played on the midfield saw some good competition between the youngsters and the experienced side from Kolkata.
However, it was the Indian Arrows who were the first to attempt a real chance to score when a long ball pass from Rahul KP was collected well by Vikram Pratap Singh leading to a beautiful cross from the right, but unfortunately, he could not direct it towards properly and the chance petered out.
East Bengal, on the other hand, were playing mostly from the midfield and were trying to pick opportunities on the counter. Their experience soon came to play a role minutes later when Jaime Santos played a fantastic pass from the left into the Indian Arrows box to Laldanmaiwa who made no mistakes in finding the back of the net, giving Quess East Bengal a 1-0 lead in the 26th minute.
Thereafter, East Bengal started pressing hard and they were rewarded again in 30th minute when an unnecessary foul from Indian Arrows defender Jitendra Singh was made on Laldanmaiwa inside the box. Lalrindika Ralte, who thereafter took the penalty, failed to double the lead for his side thanks to a fantastic save from Indian Arrows goalkepper Prabhsukhan Gill.
East Bengal made a few attempts to increase their lead but failed to breach into the Indian Arrows defence line. The first 45 minutes of the game ended with Quess East Bengal having a solitary goal lead on the young Indian Arrows.
The second half began with the Indian Arrows pressing hard. Their attacks, in regular intervals, did create some trouble for East Bengal, but the lack of a good finish from the Arrows forwards kept them away from scoring an equaliser.
East Bengal, however, slowly came back to their attacking ways exploiting the occasional defensive lapse, but were not successful in getting their second goal. However, the Indian Arrows were soon punished for their errors inside their own box when Jobby Justin scored East Bengal’s second goal in the 64th minute on a rebound which Indian Arrows goalkeeper Prabhsukhan Gill failed to collect properly while saving an attempt to score from Samad.
The game that suddenly took a very physical turn, saw two red cards in the second half, one to East Bengal’s Lalram Chullova in the 56th minute, and then in the 84th minute to Aniket Jadhav of Indian Arrows for a second yellow card.
The Indian Arrows, however, did not give up and kept on with their attacks, hoping to reduce the two-goal deficit. Their efforts were soon rewarded when a foul on Ashish Rai from East Bengal’s Manoj ensured the hosts a penalty in the 89th minute.
Ninthoi took the penalty to score for the Indian Arrows in the 90th minute, bringing the scoreline to 1-2, still in favour of the visitors. Indian Arrows did create a few attempts post this to find an equaliser, but the opponents ensured that the young hosts posted no further threat to their lead, thereby bagging the three points.