In a crucial I-League encounter played at the TRC ground in Srinagar on Monday East Bengal overcame a nine-man Real Kashmir FC by a solitary goal.
With the win, East Bengal now moves to the second spot on the points table with 23 points from 16 matches whereas, Real Kashmir has 22 points from 15 matches.
The win for the Red and Gold brigade meant that Mohun Bagan now only need two points to seal the league title, a feat that it can achieve on Tuesday with a win against Aizawl FC.
The first half saw many heated moments, three yellow cards and a red card, all of them awarded to Real Kashmir.
Unhappy with the overall refereeing during the match, the RKFC team management later lodged a complaint with the All India Football Federation.
Expressing his disappointment, Real Kashmir FC co-owner Sandeep Chattoo said, “It is one of most unfortunate losses for RKFC, where umpires failed us. The bias of the referee was clearly visible.”
“We will be appealing against decisions of the referee to the AIFF. Match video is there for anyone to see how partial the referee was,” he said in a release issued by the club.
Local lad Danish Farooq saw a second yellow in the 38th for simulation inside the opposition area. East Bengal, with the man advantage for more than half of the game, dominated possession with 63 per cent of the ball.
The game resumed and Real Kashmir showed great resilience. The Red and Golds had a good opportunity from a free-kick that was awarded to them just outside the Real Kashmir box. However, his free-kick was saved by keeper Lachenpa. Soon after, it was Bidyashagar Singh who came up with a left-footed drive from distance but the Real Kashmir keeper was able to deflect it out for a corner kick.
In the very last minute of regulation time, second-half substitute Edmund Lalrindika had a go from distance but to the away team’s disappointment, the shot was straight into the hands of the goalkeeper.
The labour of the Red and Gold brigade finally paid off in the added time as Juan Mera was fouled in the box, which resulted in a penalty. Victor Perez walked up to take the spot-kick and made no mistake as he smashed the ball into the back of the net to give his team the much needed goal.
The match had a sour ending though, with two red cards being flashed in the final minutes. Kallum Higginbotham and Edmund were sent off and in a rather dramatic ending, as East Bengal took home the three points.
With inputs from PTI
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