Durand Cup 2019: Bidyashagar brace steers East Bengal into semis

Bidyashagar Singh came off the bench to score a brace and power East Bengal to a 2-1 win over Bengaluru FC in their Durand Cup 2019 match on Wednesday.

Action from the Durand Cup 2019 tie between Bengaluru FC and East Bengal.   -  Special Arrangement

Bidyashagar Singh proved the hero once again as the super-sub scored twice in the second half to help East Bengal erase a goal’s deficit and beat Bengaluru FC 2-1 in a group A match of the 129th Durand Cup, here at the Salt Lake Stadium on Wednesday.

In the other two group matches played on the same day, Gokulam Kerala FC brightened its semifinal chances by blanking Indian Air Force 3-0 in a group D match at Howrah Municipal Corporation Stadium, while FC Goa's developmental side got the better of I-League champion Chennai City FC in a 2-1 win at Kalyani Stadium in a group C match and stayed in the hunt for a semifinal berth.

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Needing a draw to ensure its spot in the last-four stage, East Bengal ensured that it topped the group league table by securing an all-win record (nine points) with the comeback win against Bengaluru FC's second team.

Ajay Chhetri gave Bengaluru the lead in the 17th minute when he scored from a rebound after Edmund Lalrindika's strike thundered off the crossbar. East Bengal coach Alejandro Menendez introduced Bidyashagar after the break and he found the equaliser by the hour mark with a nice half-volley. A product of the East Bengal academy,  Bidyashagar scored the winner in the 74th minute with a fine solo effort.

Gokulam Kerala FC found its second big win of the tournament by outplaying Indian Air Force 3-0. Having outdone Chennaiyin FC's development side 4-0 in the first outing, Gokulam's Trinidad and Tobago import Marcus Joseph found the target twice, while Shibil Muhammed netted the remaining one to complete the tally.

FC Goa, which got the better of Army Green by a solitary goal in its previous match, also lined itself up for a last-four spot in group C. Liston Colaco have Goa the lead in the 10th minute, but Chennai City restored parity in the 18th minute when Mashoor Shereef nodded home the equaliser. Nestor Dias struck the winner in the 31st minute to help FC Goa claim all three points.

The results: Group A - East Bengal (Bidyashagar Singh 59, 74) bt Bengaluru FC 1 (Ajay Chhetri 17); Group C – FC Goa 2 (Liston Colaco 10, Nestor Dias 31) bt Chennai City FC 1 (Mashoor Shereef 18); Gokulam Kerala FC 3 (Marcus Joseph 43, 86, Shibil Muhammed 56) bt Indian Air Force 0.
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