I-League, as it happened: Espada, Santos goals give EB 2-0 lead over CCFC

Tune in for live commentary and updates from the I-League tie between defending champion Chennai City FC and East Bengal.

Chennai City takes on East Bengal at home in the I-League.   -  Twitter @ILeagueOfficial

Hello and welcome to Sportstar's live blog of this evening's I-League clash between reigning champion Chennai City FC and East Bengal. This is Aashin Prasad and I will be bringing you the live action.

 

FULL TIME. Referee blows for the final whistle as East Bengal wraps up a deserved win in Coimbatore.

90' + 2' Fito goes for a shot from the left side but Mirshad collects the ball.

Four minutes of added time.

90' CCFC SUB: Lenin comes on for Suhail Pasha.

87' Pradson is booked for bringing down Kromah as he was running onto the long ball from Mera.

84' CCFC SUB: Ranjeet Singh comes on for Pravitto Raju.

82' EB SUB: Abhas Thapa comes on for the injured Kamlpreet Singh.

77' GOAAAL! That should wrap up the three points for East Bengal as Santos redeems himself by slotting the penalty away this time. Santos went to the same side but Santana was late to get to it.

77' PENALTY! Referee points the spot this time as Sanros is brought down by Jishnu.

75' Pradson brought down as Kromah puts in a leg to check the centre-back's run.

71' EB SUB: Tondomba Singh Naorem on for Didika Ralte, who has gone down injured. The midfielder is stretchered off the pitch.

68' GOALLL! East Bengal takes the lead through Espada! CCFC defence seems to have fallen asleep as Santos creeps in behind to the byline to fire a low cross into the six yard box where Espada is there to poke the ball in.

68' That was a good shout for a penalty after a foul from Santana on Kromah but the referee says no penalty.

67' CCFC SUB: Jockson Das on for Muzangu

66' EB SUB: Ansumana Kromah comes on for Brandon.

CCFC now shading the possession and creating some chances of its own.

65' Muzangu feeds Fito on the right side and the Spaniard goes for a shot from distance. The ball bounces in front of Mirshad and he palms it behind for a corner.

60' Aidara fouls Fito by stepping on his feet. Eslava goes for the piledriver but the ball continues to rise up and goes above the bar.

59' Brandon strikes the post! He cuts in and unleashes a curler to the far post which strikes the post before Mera puts the rebound wide. CCFC defence was sliced open with that through ball.

56' Eslava with a punt forward which Fito races onto. He cuts inside Abhishek before going for a low shot down the near post but Mirshad is alert and keeps it out.

52' Brandon puts the ball into the net but he is flagged offside! Kassim Aidara with a quick free-kick but Brandon had made the run a tad too early.

48' Brandon finds Santos inside the box and the Spaniard cuts in and takes a fierce shot but Santana again with a good pair of fists to keep the ball from going into the net. Special mention to Mera for finding Brandon on the left with a racking diagonal.

46' CCFC kicks off the second half. Both teams remain unchanged.

We are back for the second period. Will we see a breakthrough?

SECOND HALF

Referee blows for half-time whistle and CCFC will count itself lucky with the let off it has had mostly owing to poor finishing from the away side. East Bengal players get into a huddle after the whistle before heading back into the dressing room. They will be encouraged by the chances they have had in the half. I will back in 15 minutes for the second half.

45' Nope. Again his shot goes over the bar. One minute of added time till the end of this half.

44' Charles with a foul on Mera 30 yards away from goal. Can Mera find his mark this time?

43' CCFC keeps getting itself into trouble as it tries to play out from the back. Eslava with an error as he passes it back under pressure which sets EB on the attack. Luckily for the home side, Espada isn't allowed enough time to get his shot away.

40' Didika Ralte clatters into Eslava and the referee immediately blows the whistle for a foul. Ralte goes into the book now.

39' Mera with a curling free-kick is over the bar.

38' Freekick to East Bengal and Shem Marton gets a yellow card for the challenge.

36' What a chance for Santos! Brandon chips the ball from the centre circle for Santos to run into through on goal. Santana once again closes down the angle which forced Santos to go for the chip and end up missing the target.

34' SAVE! Brandon with a great chance to put East Bengal in the lead as he runs one-on-one on goal. He lines himself up for a shot but Santana comes in to block his shot. The Spaniard is keeping the home side in the game so far.

33' Fito goes for a curling effort from the middle and the ball takes a deflection off the wall which allows Mirshad to push it away from a danger.

31' Handball against Kamalpreet as he tries to block the through ball to Yusa. The ball ricochet's off his leg and on to his hand. He is booked for his protest of the decision.

26' Pravitto tries to play Muzangu in behind the defence but the attacker's run is flagged offside.

25' Fito goes for the audacious shot at goal from the halfway line but its way off target.

23' Brandon has so much room into on the right side of CCFC's defence. He hooks in a cross intot he edge of the box and Espada's header is way off target.

22' Jan Muzangu with some great feet on the right side. He dribbles past three defenders but runs into one-too-many bodies and has his run checked.

19' Suhail is brought down by Kamalpreet as he pushes the ball forward to make a run down the channel.

16' Chance at the other end as Suhail is found on the left but his shot is blocked after cutting in inside the box.

15' SAVED! SANTANA DENIES SANTOS! The Spaniard denies his counterpart as he guess right by diving to the right to save the shot!

14' Handball call and penalty awarded to East Bengal! The pressure pasys off but it seems like a soft penalty here as the defender seemed unaware of where the ball was when it struck his hand.

East Bengal is pushing high up the pitch and not allowing CCFC to pass out the back easily. This has lead to some sloppy passing from the home side.

12' Espada releases Santos down the right and he ends up dragging the ball wide and plays the return pass behind the run of Espada. A better pass and Espada could have had a real crack at goal.

After the confusion with CCFC's formation, here's how they are actually lining up in 4-4-1-1

Nauzet Santana (1), Jishnu Balakrishnan (35), Pradison Mariyadasan (28), Roberto Eslava (4), Shem Marton(23); Jan Muzangu (37), Charles Lourdusamy (12), Pravitto Raju (17), Suhail Pasha (26); Katsumi Yusa (11); Fito (10)

 

8' Mera is found on the right side and he beats Shem in his one-on-one duel by cutting before unleashing a shot. Santana does well to get down quickly and stick his left hand out to block the shot.

6' East Bengal finds its footing with Juan Mera pulling the strings from the right side. Some nervy moments inside the CCFC box which is cleared away from danger.

Muzangu starts from right. Eslava slots in to the centre-back. It's a classic 4-4-1-1 formation for Chennai City.

3' What a chance for Fito to put Chennai City in the lead. CCFC pass the ball around before Yusa takes the ball and dribbles near the box and releases Fito free on the left. The Spaniard has time to line up his shot but only ends up finding the side-netting.

1' - East Bengal kicks off from left to right.

The broadcaster suggests Chennai will line-up in a 3-5-2 formation with Muzangu and Marton starting in the front two. East Bengal will start in a 4-4-2 formation.

FIRST HALF

Line-ups

Chennai City XI: Nauzet Santana (1), Jishnu Balakrishnan (35), Pradison Mariyadasan (28), Roberto Eslava (4), Shem Marton(23); Jan Muzangu (37), Charles Lourdusamy (12), Pravitto Raju (17), Suhail Pasha (26); Fito (10), Katsumi Yusa (11)

East Bengal XI: Mirshad Michu (32), Kamalpreet Singh (5), Asheer Akhtar (2), Mehtab Singh (29), Abhishek Ambekar (27); Brandon Vanlalremdika (30), Kassim Aidara (16), Lalrindika Ralte (20), Juan Mera (23); Marcos Jiminez de la Espada (18), Jaime Santos (8)

CCFC coach Akbar Nawas says Muzangu has trained for the last week in preparation for the game. "I don't want him to try and impress as the new player. I want him to work hard for the team," says Nawas.

Last season, these two teams were locked in a tense title race which went down the wire. This time around, East Bengal is way off the top after having played just seven games. CCFC can get itself back in the title picture with a few back-to-back wins starting with a win tonight.

The home side is currently on the eighth place with as many points, while East Bengal also has the same number of points but sits a place above in the seventh spot by virtue of a superior goal difference.

Match preview

Chennai City FC will host Kolkata giant Quess East Bengal FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Coimbatore on Saturday.

Either club would be far from pleased given where it stands on the table as the I-League season approaches its half-way mark. Chennai City is in eighth place, having picked eight points while Quess East Bengal has racked up the same total, but sits a place above in seventh by virtue of a superior goal difference.

Despite having not hit full throttle, Chennai City will be boosted by its 3-2 win against Gokulam Kerala FC.

Katsumi Yusa, who is now with Chennai City, will be lining up against his former club. Having donned the famous Red and Gold once, he shared his thoughts on facing his old club and said, “I am feeling very happy to play against East Bengal. I have played with them previously and their supporters were very good to me.”

He further added, “They are a fresh team now, with new talents and good footballing philosophy, so they will be a good team to face and I am looking forward to the game.”

READ | Mohun Bagan defeats East Bengal in penultimate Kolkata derby of I-League

The mood in the East Bengal camp will be totally different, with it having endured three defeats in a row, but none as deflating as its loss to arch-rival Mohun Bagan in the Kolkata derby.

The club also announced the departure of head coach Alejandro Menendez earlier this week, which doesn’t make its situation any better. Taking over the reins will be Spaniard Mario Rivera Campesino, who was Alejandro’s assistant last season.

However, East Bengal will be aided by the signing of Liberian forward, Ansumana Kromah, who has re-joined the club.

The task in hand for the visitor wouldn’t be made any easier by the unavailability of defender Marti Crespi, after the veteran Spaniard picked up his fourth yellow card of the season against Mohun Bagan, rendering him suspended for tomorrow’s game.

ALSO READ | Sunil Chhetri hails ATK-Mohun Bagan merger

East Bengal midfielder Juan Mera addressed the rough patch that his side is going through saying, “I think the team has played some very good games so far. We have had bad luck with goals going forward.”

On being asked if he is fazed by the poor run of form, he remained calm and asserted. “We must continue working to improve day-by-day. I have no pressure," he added.

The match will kick-off at 7PM IST and will be broadcast live on DSport and Kolkata TV, with online streaming available at FanCode.