March 27, 2023



I-League 2019/20: Marcos Espada save East Bengal blushes

3 min read

KALYANI: Marcos Espada’s 76th minute goal cancel out Gnohere Krizo’s opener as Real Kashmir were held to a 1-1 draw by East Bengal in their 2019/20 I-League opener at on Wednesday at Kalyani Stadium.

On the balance of play,  East Bengal will feel they should have sneaked it as they dominated proceedings and created better goal-scoring chances. But in the end, the result was perhaps a fair reflection of the action on show. Both teams had periods of dominance and numerous scoring opportunities.

Home fans who showed up in numbers hoping to see a dominant performance from East Bengal, had little to cheer about in the first-half, as a keenly contested but frustratingly scrappy battle developed between the two sides.

Despite some quick and accurate passes from both sets of players, neither side was able to establish dominance over the midfield during the early stages which made for an end-to-end, open encounter.

Real Kashmir were pressing high without the ball, trying to put pressure on the East Bengal defence which looked organised and comfortable to dictate the pace of the match and limit the Real Kashmir’s options to counterattacks.

Playing out from the back, David Robertson’s men were looking to connect with target-man Krizo but Marti Crespi, at the centre of East Bengal defence, had little trouble defusing the searching long balls and crosses aimed at the forward.

By midway through the first period East Bengal were piling on the pressure. Marcos and Jaime Colado led East Bengal’s offensive efforts but like their opponents, failed to be as lethal as they needed to be in front of goal. Real Kashmir defenders were also quick to the ball and made the clearance any time it came near goal.

Inevitably, failing to convert their chances came back to haunt East Bengal as Real Kashmir took the lead in the 37th minute when Krizo drilled it into the right bottom corner with a long-range strike.

Real Kashmir’s spirits were lifted by the goal and they played out the remainder of the first-half with a lot of energy, which they brought with them when they returned from the break.

But they weren’t the only ones, East Bengal came out of the sheds fired up to bring themselves back into contention, controlling the ball, winning set pieces and keeping Real Kshmir pinned into their own back third.

East Bengal were all over Real Kashmir and asking more and more questions. With a couple of personnel changes, the hosts started looking more and more competitive forcing Goalkeeper Phurba Lachenpa and his back-line to work a little harder than they’d needed to in the first period.

However, Real Kashmir weren’t without chances of their own, but between some solid defending and the safe hands of Lalthuammawia Ralte, the attackers were unable to get an edge on their opponent.

East Bengal continued to have the majority of possession and chances in front of goal with Juan Mera combining well with Marcos to create opportunities that were often unlucky not to score from.

As the clock counted down East Bengal continued to put pressure on Real Kashmir and the pressure eventually told as Marcos scored the all-important goal in the 76th minute when he slotted home a Juan Mera low cross to the delight of the home fans.

Having scored, East Bengal showed more endeavour in attack and it took everything Real Kashmir had left in their tank to deny the late onslaught from East Bengal. Purba also made a number of telling saves to salvage a point for his side.

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