Durand Cup 2019: East Bengal snatches 2-0 win over Army Red

Second half strikes from Jaime Santos Colado and Khangembam Bidyashagar Singh saw East Bengal earn a hard-fought 2-0 win over Army Red in their Durand Cup 2019 tie on Saturday.

Jaime Colado Santos struck East Bengal's first goal in its Durand Cup 2019 victory over Army Red on Saturday. (File Image)   -  SHIV KUMAR PUSHPAKAR

Taking the field as a late second-half substitute, Khangembam Bidyashagar Singh created one goal and finished off another to steer East Bengal to a 2-0 win over 10-man Army Red in their Durand Cup group A clash at the East Bengal ground here on Saturday.

The quicksilver forward, introduced in the 78th minute, created the difference as East Bengal tried desperately to break the deadlock with a draw appearing imminent. The goal route opened in the 85th minute after Bidyashagar was unfairly brought down by the Army goalkeeper Muhammed Shanoos, who rushed out of the box and committed a foul. Shanoos received marching orders and East Bengal’s Spanish striker Jaime Santos stepped up to score from the resultant free-kick.

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Bidyashagar went on to put his name on the scoresheet in the first minute of the injury time when he tapped home a cross from right-back Samad Ali Mallick.

Making its first outing of the season, East Bengal looked rusty at the start and struggled to find cohesion against the tough-playing Army side. The initial quarter saw Army Red calling shots but it failed to convert the chances in absence of a good finisher. East Bengal began to find rhythm in the second quarter of the action, but was denied by the post twice as Santos and Boithang Hoakip both struck the woodwork in the 23rd and 29th minutes respectively.

The change of ends did not improve the situation for East Bengal, which found it tough to outfox the armymen's defence. Santos had another chance in the 71st minute but failed to keep his header on target. East Bengal coach Alejandro Menendez brought in Bidyashagar as his final replacement and the decision worked wonders for the home side, which got two goals in the final six minutes to get its Durand Cup campaign off to a winning start.

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