KOLKATA: East Bengal were stunned by George Telegraph 1-0 in their 2019/20 Calcutta Premier Division A opener on Friday.
In a tight game which could have gone either way, a moment of sheer brilliance by Morgan Justice in second-half stoppage time proved the difference after a thrilling 90 minutes at East Bengal Ground.
The game was hardly something to write home about, as the lacklustre performance between both teams resulted in spectators booing in an effort to get some action.
Both teams started the game a bit tentative, with no real opportunities for either side in the first 25 minutes of play, except for a shot at goal from Bidyashagar Singh in the 5th minute which was blocked by a defender. This slight chance came after some good work on the right flank from Abhijit Sarkar.
However, after 30 minutes the game opened up. First it was George Telegraph that got a fine opportunity in a counter-attacking move and, straight thereafter, East Bengal got a chance via Subhanil Ghosh, however, the young attacker failed to connect properly with the ball.
Bidyashagar’s ferocious shot at goal in the 40th minute also failed to find the back of the net, while, on the other side of the pitch, Rakshit Dagar made a great save to take care that George Telegraph didn’t open the scoring before at first-half.
The first-half was a rather evenly balanced affair, although East Bengal looked the more likely to find the back of the net. Bidyashagar looked dangerous whenever in possession of the ball, while Subhanil and Ronaldo Oliviera made some excellent runs off the ball. Naorem Tondomba Singh, meanwhile, was again fighting hard in his defensive midfield role.
The second-half started as a continuation of the first, with George Telegraph preferring to sit back and catch East Bengal on the break.
Slowly, East Bengal upped the tempo and the pressure on George Telegarph goal. Various good opportunities came the home side’s way, with the best coming for Oliviera and Bidyashagar.
Especially the Goan had a fine second-half, making excellent runs and being involved in some good combination play.
East Bengal had most of the possession as the game wore on but they failed to stick to their passing game policy. The players seemed to be more keen on playing direct football sending long balls from the centre-line as George Telegraph intelligently and stubbornly defended their area.
And with the home team pressing forward, their could always be the chance the other way, materialising when Morgan dodged past a couple of East Bengal defenders before slotting a left-footer past Rakshit in stoppage time to ensure full three points for George Telegraph.