Emami East Bengal surprised former ISL champion Mumbai City FC 4-3 in a thrilling goal fest in a Group B match of the 131st Durand Cup, at the Kishore Bharati Stadium here on Saturday.
Having played two goalless draws before a lone-goal loss against traditional rival ATK Mohun Bagan, East Bengal put a memorable finishing to its campaign with a fantastic win in the end. Sumeet Passi and Cleiton Silva shared the four goals for East Bengal while Lallianzuala Chhangte struck twice and Greg Stewart once to bring up the replies for Mumbai City.
The first half produced a very entertaining brand of attacking football that saw six goals coming up in the course of the action. East Bengal wrested the initiative and scored two spectacular goals to establish a healthy lead in the first quarter of the action.
The first one came in the 17th minute from Sumeet Passi, who finished with a nice angular header after Jerry set up a deep cross in the Mumbai box. Brazilian Cleiton Silva came up with a world-class free kick conversion to double East Bengal’s score by the 22nd minute.
Mumbai City regrouped after the initial setbacks and pulled one back through Greg Stewart, who finished a nice counter-attack to bring the visitor back in the game.
Passi struck his second in the 34th minute to make it 3-1 for East Bengal. But the East Bengal joy did not last long as Lallianzuala Chhangte came up with two outstanding finishes to make it 3-3 by the 43rd minute and scripted a great comeback for Mumbai City FC.
The second session remained relatively placid as both the sides sought to be more defensive but Cleiton Silva lit up the things for the East Bengal fans scoring the winner in the 81st minute.
The Brazilian combined excellently with substitute Amarjit Singh Kiyam to score his second goal and clinched the first win of the season for East Bengal in the process.
The loss saw Mumbai City FC finishing the league stage on seven points from four matches. This resulted in a two-way tie on top of the table with ATK Mohun Bagan also tallying seven points from its four.
East Bengal exited the tournament with five points leaving the last group match between Rajasthan United (five from three) and Indian Navy (one from three) on Monday to decide the final group league table.
Hyderabad FC suffers first loss in the Durand Cup
Army Red relied on its captain Suresh Meitei’s lone goal to shock Indian Super League (ISL) champion Hyderabad FC 1-0 in a Group C match of the 131st Indian Oil Durand Cup football tournament at the Khuman Lampak Stadium in Imphal on Saturday.
Meitei put Army Red ahead in the 33 rd minute before his team defended heavily against table topper Hyderabad’s powerful forward line to snatch its first win. Army Red had beaten Hyderabad last year as well.
Army Red, which had shared points with another ISL side Chennaiyin FC, finished its campaign on a high with five points.
The Army men played positive football and created chances to put pressure on the Hyderabad post. Their team got the lead when Christopher Kamei’s free-kick from just outside the box on the right was directed into the goal by Meitei’s delicate header.
The red shirts came close to scoring their second goal in the 44 th minute but Sushil Shah’s shot was saved by Hyderabad ‘keeper Lalbiakhlua Jongte.
Hyderabad initiated some fine moves but could not erase the deficit. Chhangte posed the maximum threat without being able to capitalise on the three chances that came his way in the first half.
Despite some tight marking from the Army men, Hyderabad raided the rival goal with more intensity after the change in ends but could not find the target due to the brilliant showing of an alert and athletic Bhabindra Thakuri under the bar.
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