CFL 2019/20: East Bengal, Mohun Bagan log hard fought wins

KOLKATA: East Bengal leapfrogged to third place on the Calcutta Premier Division ‘A’ log when they beat Southern Samity 2-1 at East Bengal Ground on Thursday.

Bidyashagar Singh (32′) and Jaime Coldo (62′) struck for East Bengal before Southern Samity reduced the deficit through Arjun Tudu (81′), but the day belonged to the East Bengal who claimed their third victory of the campaign.

Truth be told, all Alejandro Menendez’s players did was capitalise on two dreadful pieces of defending on dead-ball by a team who have a mere three points to their name. That is the size of what they achieved.

East Bengal dominated first-half ball possession, but did not do much to threaten the opposition goal, while Southern Samity, who were pressed back for the majority of the half, did well to absorb the pressure and looked dangerous on the few times they attacked.

The first-half was characterized by a lack of goal scoring opportunities from both sides. In the infant stages of the game, East Bengal had shown promise with some impressive passes, but when they resorted to long balls, Southern Samity dealt with them with confidence.

However, East Bengal were rewarded for their persistent efforts and it was Bidyashagar who stamped his authority on the proceedings by heading home from a corner by Lalrindika Ralte to settle his team’s nerves.

Having taken the lead, East Bengal got a much needed confidence boost and they increased their pressure up front dominating the game entirely. Despite creating numerous scoring opportunities it was lack of finishing that saw first-half ended 1-0.

The break seemed to have a positive effect on Southern Samity players who looked to be far more settled and organised throughout the second period.

East Bengal goalkeeper Lalthuammawia Ralte was a spectator in the first-half, but he saw more action in the second, keeping out an angled drive from Mohmoud Al Amna before twice having to punch away an awkward aerial ball in the 52nd minute as Southern Samity  began to put more pressure on the East Bengal defence looking for the equalizer.

Despite the momentum turning in Southern Samity’s favour, East Bengal fought back to add a second in the 62nd minute. It was an almost identical goal to the first as Lalrindika sent in yet another in-swinger from corner but this time it was Colado who buried the ball in the back of the net.

Meanwhile, Southern Samity did not lose hope as they kept attacking with intensity and pulled a goal back through substitute Arjun Tudu in the 81st minute.

The match started to become a little tenser as the clock counted down with Southern Samity showing great determination in their pursuit of an equalizer, while East Bengal remained solid at the back.

Southern Samity, to their credit, never gave up but it appeared as if getting on the score sheet just wasn’t to be for the side today with every shot went anywhere but on target as East Bengal held on for a well-deserved win.

East Bengal, 10 points from 5 matches, are now level on points with log leaders Peerless SC, but have an inferior goal difference, and the both are scheduled to face each other next on September 9 at East Bengal Ground.

Elsewhere, Mohun Bagan beat Bhawanipore FC 2-0 at Kalyani Stadium to register their second win of the campaign. The Mariners took the lead though Alexander Romario Jesuraj in the 29th minute before Nongdamba Naorem put the result beyond any doubt in the 56th minute to set up the 2-0 win.

The Mariners who now have 8 points from 5 matches will face George Telegraph next on September 8 at Kalyani Stadium.

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