KOLKATA: East Bengal suffered a blow in a crucial stage of the Calcutta Premier Division ‘A’ title chase following a 2-1 loss against Peerless Sports Club on Thursday at East Bengal Ground.
Peerless took a early lead through Ansumana Kromah (7′) before Kassim Aidara (72′) restored the parity for East Bengal. Nonetheless, substitute Narohari Srestha’s (78′) goal handed Peerless full three points.
This was East Bengal first defeat in the Calcutta Premier Division ‘A’ following a 46-match unbeaten run. East Bengal’s last defeat came against Mohammedan Sporting Club on August 10, 2014.
East Bengal began the game in attacking mode and created the first close chance in the 2nd minute. Mahmoud Al Amna did well to cut in past a couple of defenders from the left but his powerful drive sailed inches over the horizontal.
While East Bengal pressed high up, Peerless managed to take the lead against the run of the play at the other end. Kromah received a well-timed pass from Rahim Nabi before rounding East Bengal goalkeeper Rakshit Dagar to give Peerless the lead in the 7th minute.
Having scored, Peerless got a much needed confidence boost and not only did they dominate possession, they also gave Rakshit a fairly decent workout.
Kromah along with Trinidadian World-Cupper Anthony Wolfe pressed forward to create havoc for East Bengal back-line to deal with.
However, Peerless suffered a setback in the 28th minute when Kromah was stretchered off and replaced by Narohari.
After Kromah’s departure East Bengal started to find their footing and had a couple of good opportunities to equalize but Peerless defended deep and had their custodian Sandip Paul to thank after he denied Jobby Justin, Lalrindika Ralte and Amna on multiple occasions as the first-half ended 1-0.
Possession remained in Peerless’ favour in the second-hand and the number of shots they had increased however Rakshit covered his area well to keep some stunning strikes at bay.
However, they soon allowed the Red and Golds to pull themselves level when Kassim’s glancing header from Lalrindika’s cross found the target in the 72nd minute.
The tension increased, thereafter, as both sides continued to search for a winner, with quick counter attacks taking play from end-to-end.
Rakshit had a blinder denying the impressive and relentless strike force of Wolfe, Narohari and Nabi time and again.
However despite Rakshit’s being in-form as ever, he couldn’t hold Peerless off forever and as the clock headed into the 79th minute mark Narohari pounced on a loose ball to give his side the lead for a second time.
This time Peerless held tight to that one-goal advantage to log their fifth win of the campaign which took their tally to 16 points from 8 matches. While, East Bengal remain on second position with 20 points from 9 matches, three behind leaders Mohun Bagan.