Peerless SC reaffirmed its giant-killer status this season as it downed 39-time champion East Bengal by a solitary goal in a Calcutta Football League premier division ‘A’ match at the latter’s home ground on Monday.
Peerless, which had convincingly beaten the defending champion Mohun Bagan (3-0) earlier in the League, thus completed a rare feat of beating both the city giants in the same tournament.
Liberian forward Ansumana Kromah, who had previously turned out for both East Bengal and Mohun Bagan, scored the winner from a 65th-minute penalty that secured Peerless its fourth win in six matches and took it to the top of the current standings.
With 13 points from six matches Peerless established a two-point lead over Mohun Bagan, which is placed second with 11 points gained from six outings. East Bengal remained at the fifth spot with 10 points from six matches.
Making its sixth appearance in the tournament, East Bengal struggled for the greater part of the action as Peerless seemed to have the right game for the slushy conditions.
Peerless successfully adopted a counter-offensive game that caught the home team’s defence on the wrong foot on quite a few occasions. After two of its attempts had come off the post, Peerless was awarded a penalty in the 65th minute when East Bengal defender Kamalpreet Singh brought down former’s Pankaj Moula inside its own box. Kromah scored from the spot to bring about East Bengal’s downfall.
With Peerless having beaten the two title contenders — East Bengal and Mohun Bagan — and the tournament crossing the half-way stage, the possibility of new champion breaking the dominance of the two city giants is gradually growing.
Mohammedan Sporting was the last team to outsmart the city giants and win the title in 1981, after which the local supremacy has always remained with the big two.