Sunday , May 26 2024

I-League: East Bengal held goalless by Sporting Goa, end slim title chance!

Hero I-LeagueKingfisher East Bengal officially bowed out of the title race as they were held to a goalless draw with Sporting Clube de Goa in the first encounter of the 17th round in the Hero I-League at the Barasat Stadium tonight.

Frenchman Bernard Mendy missed out for the home side and midfield sensation Lalrindika Ralte made a much-anticipated return to the match day squad. Interim manager Sanjay Majhi made seven changes to the team that lost to Bengaluru FC last week. Luis Barreto came back with his gloves and youngsters Samad Ali Mallick, Narayan Das and Joaquim Abranches Shylo Mama, Mehtab Hossain featured in the starting XI. Incidentally, Deepak Mondal, who made his first start of the season, was handed the captain’s armband by the gaffer.

For the Goan side, Odafa Okolie was ushered into the playing eleven after recovering from his surgery. 20-year-old Sumeet Passi was unlucky to miss out after scoring a brace against Lajong on the last matchday.

There was not much action early on in the match. However, the noteworthy event was Odafa’s withdrawal in the 13th minute as he went down on the pitch as early as in the third minute and was constantly on the sidelines being treated for the sustained injury.

Kingfisher East Bengal gave up on a glaring chance in the 20th minute when Sanju Pradhan got into the right channel but the ball deflected off Dong Hyun for Arindam to collect the ball with ease.

Right on the half-hour mark, Hero I-League’s top scorer Ranti Martins failed to connect the ball from Dong’s incoming ball as he chose to go for a cheeky back heel, which did not come off properly.

Both teams were unable to keep possession of the ball for long periods of time. With a completely new eleven, there was no chemistry within the East Bengal team.

The teams headed into the break with the scoresheet remaining goalless.

After the second period resumed, Sporting pumped in more energy but eventually they failed to find the elusive goal.

Veteran custodian Arindam Bhattacharya was brilliant in the second half as he denied the Red & Golds’ three vital chances.

Mehrajuddin Wadoo was given his marching orders for stamping Narayan Das just before the hour mark when he earned his second yellow card inside two minutes.

The hosts failed to take advantage of the numerical factor on the pitch as Ranti and Dong constantly missed to strike in the attacking third.

Late into the game, Narayan Das was also sent off for a rash tackle on substitute Joseph Clemente.

The match dragged into a slow affair for both teams to find attacks coming slow and off target.

The Flaming Oranje did well to gain a point in Kolkata as Kingfisher East Bengal bowed out of the title race with 25 points to show from their 15 matches.

by AIFF Media

About Arunava Chaudhuri

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