East Bengal won a hard-fought game defeating the young Indian Arrows 1-2 in the I-League at the Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar on Tuesday.
Laldanmawia Ralte (penalty) and Jobby Justin scored for East Bengal in the 26th and 64th minute, respectively, while Ninthoi was the lone scorer for Indian Arrows in the 90th minute through a penalty. Justin was adjudged the man of the Match.
The first part of the half saw both teams making equal attempts but the strong defence line of the young Arrows and the experience of Bengal ensured that neither of the teams got any clear chance to score. A large portion of the game that was being played on the mid-field saw some good competition between the youngsters and the experienced side from Kolkata.
However, it was the Arrows who were the first to attempt a real chance to score when a long ball pass from Rahul KP was collected well by Vikram Pratap leading to a beautiful cross from the right, but unfortunately, he could not direct it towards goal and the chance petered out.
Bengal, on the other hand, was playing mostly from the midfield and was trying to pick opportunities on the counter. Its experience soon came to play a role minutes later when Jaime Santos played a fantastic pass from the left into the Arrows box to Laldanmaiwa who made no mistakes in finding the back of the net, giving Bengal a 1-0 lead in the 26th minute.
Thereafter, Bengal started pressing hard and it was rewarded again in 30th minute when an unnecessary foul from Arrows defender Jitendra Singh was made on Laldanmaiwa inside the box. Didicka, who thereafter took the penalty, failed to double the lead for his side thanks to a fantastic save from Arrows goalkeeper Prabhsukhan Gill.
Bengal made a few attempts to increase its lead but failed to breach into the Arrows defence line. The first 45 minutes of the game ended with the visitor going in with a solitary goal lead.
The second half began with the Arrows pressing hard. Their attacks, in regular intervals, did create some trouble for Bengal, but the lack of a good finish from the Arrows forwards kept them away from scoring an equaliser.
Bengal, however, slowly came back to its attacking ways exploiting the occasional defensive lapse, but was not successful in getting its second goal. However, the Arrows were soon punished for their errors inside their own box when Justin scored in the 64th minute on a rebound which Gill failed to collect properly while saving an attempt from Samad.
The game that suddenly took a very physical turn, saw two red cards in the second half, one to Bengal’s Lalram Chullova in the 56th minute, and then in the 84th minute to Aniket Jadhav of Arrows (second yellow card).
The Arrows, however, did not give up and kept on with their attacks, hoping to reduce the two-goal deficit. Their efforts were soon rewarded when a foul on Ashish Rai from Bengal’s Manoj ensured the host a penalty in the 89th minute.
Ninthoi took the penalty to score in the 90th minute, bringing the scoreline to 1-2, still in favour of the visitor. Arrows did create a few attempts post this to find an equaliser, but the opponents ensured that the young host posted no further threat to their lead, thereby bagging the three points.
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