Coimbatore: East Bengal beat Chennai City FC 2-1 in their first away fixture of I-League 2017/18 on Saturday, but their defensive woes continues as they have failed to keep a clean sheet in all 5 of their matches this season with the hosts exposed vulnerability in the Red and Golds’ back-line from set pieces.
The surface was terrible at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Coimbatore, but so poor was East Bengal’s performance that not even the excuse of a bad surface could save them.
The result did saw East Bengal leapfrog to the second spot of the I-League table with 10 points from 5 matches but have conceded the most number of goals amongst the top four teams in the standings.
Chennai City FC were a clever side, but they used the same method that others already have this season to take apart a East Bengal side that have become far too predictable. Long balls through or over the middle left East Bengal in ruins, scrambling for position. The midfield was stretched, the defense overwhelmed.
Everything about East Bengal’s defending was off against Chennai City FC. Skipper Arnab Mondal looked troubled in the center and Lalramchullova out of place at right back which is affecting the rest of the team as creativity remained thin, with Mahmoud Al Amna virtually the sole source of inspiration.
East Bengal’s individual quality wrestled them back into the match, but it will take them a whole lot more than that if they are to win the I-League this season.
Coach Khalid Jamil regularly chops and changes his defense, notably rotating his full-backs, which has made it impossible to achieve any kind of continuity.
While East Bengal’s attacking football will continue to nourish hopes of capturing the I-League title after 15-long years, their defensive issues may prove a fatal flaw.