I-League, as it happened: Jaime Santos Colado stars in East Bengal's 4-1 win over NEROCA

Tune in for commentary and updates from the Neroca FC vs East Bengal I-League clash being played at the Khuman Lampak Main Stadium in Manipur.

East Bengal takes on Neroca FC in an I-League match.   -  Twitter @ILeagueOfficial

Hello and welcome to Sportstar's live blog of the Neroca FC vs East Bengal I-League game.

 

For all the football followers out there, here is an opportunity to have your say. The Sportstar Aces awards are back and India's Gurpreet Singh Sandhu and Ngangom Bala Devi are nominated for Sportsman and Sportswoman of the year after a stellar 2019! Click here to vote for your favourite sportsperson and if you like voting have a look at the rest of our popular awards categories.

And elsewhere, Punjab FC stuns the defending champion Chennai City FC 3-1 in Ludhiana. All four goals came in the last 13 minutes.

FULL TIME! East Bengal registers a first win of the season and what a thumping win! The Red and Golds move third on the table with that victory. Jaime Santos Colado was the star in East Bengal's win with a goal each in both halves.

Change for EB: Kamaljit goes off and is replaced by P. Rohlupia.

90' +2' Gaty goes for a shot from distance and is way off target. NEROCA fans are making their way out.

Four minutes of added time.

Both Gift Raikhan and Menendez are showing animated reactions on the sidelines.

88' That should have been 5-1! Espada's run to beat the offside trap works but he can't get the ball properly on the stride. All he needed to do was get the ball around Martin before slotting it in.

Change for EB: Bidyashagar Singh comes on for Jaime Santos Colado.

Diawara, who is already on a yellow card, is lucky to escape further punishment.

84' Diawara cleans out Colado in a challenge before taking a swipe at the ball which was close to the EB player's face. East Bengal players are not happy with that and there is plenty of pushing and shoving in the center circle. The referee manages to diffuse the tension and restart play.

81' NEROCA is still trying to make a game out of this. A good passage of play on the right side sees Lhungdim swing in a cross for Ronald Singh at the far post. But the cross is beyond the player and goes behind for a goal kick.

13 minutes left on the clock.

Change for EB: Pintu Mahata is off for Brandon Vanlalremdika

Change for NEROCA: Chanso Horam is removed for Khaimingthang Lhungdim

Wow. The official attendance read out at the stadium is 19,782! Staggering numbers for an afternoon kick-off.

Pintu Mahata has picked up an injury and the referee has stopped play for the moment. The physio is tending to him.

73' Gaty hangs up a cross onto the far post area where Diarra heads it back across goal. The header takes a deflection and nearly wrong foots Ralte but the 'keeper saves it in time bfore the ball goes over the line.

69' Chance for a fifth with Juan Mera played in free on the left side. His left-footed strike is blocked by Martin before Pintu's left-footed shot on the rebound is blocked by another NEROCA body. The ball goes behind for a corner kick.

64' GOOOOAL from Espada! He has had a superb game so far leading the line and he caps it up with a goal. Colado plays in Mahata on the right side and he floats in a cross on to the far post. Espada comes in unmarked and heads it in with power down into the goal.

63' Nearly a stunning goal from Colado! Espada backheels thr ball onto the path of the onrushing Colado, who hits it first time with the outside of the boot. The ball clips the outside of the far post and goes for a goal kick. Phew.

62' Good work from Horram on the right side; wins another corner for NEROCA. Hangal takes the corner which is blocked first before its played again into the box. The ball falls to Chanso Horam who chests it down and thumps a shot onto the crossbar!

60' We are back now with NEROCA breaking down the right side. The cross is blocked behind for a corner kick.

The feed has been interrupted in the 57th minute mark due to some technical glitch.

Change for NEROCA: Gaty comes on for Zico. Another change: Meiti is hooked off for Khhangam Horam

53' Espada makes room from the left side and goes for a shot from distance. The shot is low to the left of Martin and he puts in the dive to save it.

52' GOAAAL! Another clinical penalty from Colado, slotting it to the left wrong-footing the keeper again.

50' PENALTY FOR EAST BENGAL! A cross into the box is handled by a NEROCA defender. The referee points to the spot without any hesitation.

48' Audacious effort from Ronald Singh going for a shot on the turn from 35 yards out. The ball rolls into the hands of Ralte.

No changes for either sides.

46' We are back for the second half.

In the other match in Ludhiana, Chennai City and Punjab FC are locked at 0-0.

For all the football followers out there, here is an opportunity to have your say. The Sportstar Aces awards are back and India's Gurpreet Singh Sandhu and Ngangom Bala Devi are nominated for Sportsman and Sportswoman of the year after a stellar 2019! Click here to vote for your favourite sportsperson and if you like voting have a look at the rest of our popular awards categories.

The referee blows the whistle and the teams break for half-time break. East Bengal is not assured of a first win of the season but it will be happy with having the advantage so far. It will also be thankful for the left foot of Juan Mera. We will be back again for the second half. 

45' + 3' Mera strikes a corner along the ground to the front post but its cleared behind for another corner.

Four minutes of added time.

42' East Bengal goes on the counter after defending a Neroca free-kick but Samad's cross from the right is wayward and evades Espada.

40' Colado looks to break but Zico unfairly wipes him out from behind and the referee gives a free-kick in the center circle.

38' Diarra almost equalised again with his head but the glancing effort misses the far post narrowly. Ronald Singh with the hooked ball into the box.

They have sorted out the scorecard now.

All through this the scorecard on the screen still shows 1-0 to East Bengal.

33' GOOOOALLL! And just like that! Juan Mera curls in a stunning free-kick to regain the lead for East Bengal! The Spaniard is weaving magic with his left foot this season!

East Bengal attacks immediately and wins a free-kick just outside the box after a foul on Colado.

31' GOOOAAAL! NEROCA hits back immediately through Boubacar Diarra! Diarra is first to the cross from Chanso Horam on the left side and thumps in the header into the net without any pressure.

28' Free-kick outside the area for NEROCA. Siam Hanghal lines it up but Zodingliana Ralte takes it. He looks for the run on the right side but the delivery evades the run.

26' Colado goes for a shot from distance but doesn't catch it well enough. Ball rolls out for a goal kick.

The officials are tying up the net in the NEROCA end. Shoddy stuff from the officials in the lead up to the game. Doesn't make for a great advert for the league.

22' It seems that the groundsmen haven't tied the net down properly. The base of the net has been left loose and Colado's strike simply busted through the net!

21' GOAAAAAAAAL! Colado sends the 'keeper the wrong way and puts East Bengal ahead. Advantage EB!

19' PENALTY TO EAST BENGAL! Juan Mera is fouled in the box and East Bengal now has a spectacular chance to take the lead.

17' Goal? What's happened here? It looked like Espada's cross was deflected into the goal but turns out the ball found the side netting and sneaked into the goal from behind!?

13' Lucky escape here for Neroca. Goalkeeper Marvin Phillip attempts to clear the ball but takes a tad too long and Espada closes in on him. The EB attacker gets a touch on Philip's clearance, and the deflection floats narrowly wide of the goal.

11' Neroca upping the ante here. That early scare seems to have spurred the side as it has created two decent chances in as many minutes. The East Bengal defence managed to clear the danger, but not in the most convincing fashion.

9' WHAT A CHANCE! Juan Mera swings in a corner and Espada gets off a fine header, but it's just wide of the target. Best chance of the game so far and the EB striker should have done better.

7' Colado and Juan Mera look to be in great sync - the two exchange passes and Colado plays a cross from the right that lead to a corner. EB has the first corner of the game.

5' Strong start for the visiting East Bengal side. Colado has seen plenty of the ball and is the fulcrum of this attack. Neroca has looked bright, akin to its jersey, but is yet to trouble the opposition goalkeeper.

1' KICK OFF!

NEROCA XI: Martin Philip; Moirangthem Dhananjoy Singh, Taryk Sampson, Ousmane Diawara, Zodingliana Ralte; Ronald Singh, Siam Hanghal, Sushil Meiti; Sekle Yawo Zico, Boubacar Diarra, Chanso Horam

East Bengal XI: L. Ralte; Samad Ali Mallick, Asheer Akhtar, Marti Crespi, Abhishek Ambekar; Kamalpreet Singh, Kassim Aidara, Juan Mera; Pintu Mahata, Marcos Jiminez de la Espada, Jaime Santos

PREVIEW

In search of a first win of the I-League season, East Bengal has travelled to Imphal to take on NEROCA FC at the Khuman Lampak Stadium on Tuesday.

Neroca will be coming on the back of a win against Aizawl FC in a hard-fought match, where it plundered its first win with the help of a stellar performance from its custodian and skipper Marvin Devon Phillip.

Though Aizawl dominated the possession, Neroca’s win will give it the much-needed confidence going into the clash against East Bengal and an impetus for the home crowd to throng the stadium in large numbers.

Speaking before the match NEROCA's coach Gift Raikhan said, “I am very happy for the three points that we have got against Aizawl, but it’s important to note that the performance wasn’t up to the mark. We have been losing a lot of ball and a lot of chances which can prove costly against a stronger opponent.”

Speaking about East Bengal, he said, “We know that East Bengal is a good team but we will play at home. We will have to reduce our mistakes and make sure that we stand strong and compact against the away team’s attack.” He further resonated confidence in his team saying, “The team knows their strengths and weaknesses. We have prepared both mentally and physically for the same.”

The Red and Golds have drawn the first two matches but its coach Alejandro Menéndez will be hopeful with the number of chances the team has created in both the matches. Unfortunately, the chances created have not resulted in as many goals, which may be weighing on the team going into the Neroca encounter.

“I would be worried if the team doesn’t create the chances to score but creating the chances in both the games is a sign that the team combination is working well. Though, we would have liked if we had scored more goals but nonetheless we did score in every match. So, we are closer to scoring more goals and it is a positive sign,” said Menéndez.

Speaking about its opponent's, the coach added, “We know how they play and their style is pretty similar to that of Real Kashmir. So, we know what we are up against. We have to play in our style and be confident about what we do. Our defenders are playing really well and we need to have confidence in our team. I believe we are all set for the next game.”

The match will be broadcast live on DSPORT from 2:00 PM IST.