I League: Sweet revenge for East Bengal

Chennai City' second-half heroics not enough as East Bengal ran away with a 2-1 win in an I-League thriller on Friday.

Katsumi Yusa (10) of East Bengal FC vies for the ball with Chennai City FC players in an I-League match at the Nehru Stadium in Coimbatore on Friday.

Chennai City FC (CCFC) played a valiant second half but it was East Bengal which ran away with a 2-1 win in the Hero I-League thriller at the Nehru Stadium here on Friday. It was a sweet revenge for the visitors as they gone down 3-2 to the same team in the last edition at Chennai.

East Bengal seemed to be in control initially but with the crowd by its side, the CCFC men quickly found their feet and marched boldly into the rival camp.

Skipper Michael Soosairaj and Joachim made best use of yawning gaps to create some opportunities but it brought no result.

Just when the going looked good for CCFC, East Bengal silenced the 15,000-odd crowd with two goals in the space of five minutes. The first in the 27thminute lacked the class. 

Willis Plaza, the danger man, packed in a pass to M. Amna who essayed a shot from the right and Yusa Katsumi tapped the ball in a hurry into the net. 

Five minutes later, Charles De Souza cashed in on a defensive lapse to head it safely home. 

Alexander Romario brought some relief to the supporters just before the lemon break with a beauty that left the East Bengal custodian Luis Baretto confused.

Lot of heat

The second half generated a lot of heat as the players from both sides went into the attack. With time running out, CCFC applied the pressure upfront even as the visiting side tried to slow things down a bit.

CCFC’s Edwin Sydney Vanspaul had the East Bengal custodian in a spot of bother yet again with only a few minutes left for the final hooter but his curling free kick sailed over the goalmouth. Uros Polaniec, CCFC’s custodian, took home the player of the match award. 

“We are happy to go home with a positive result. We want to carry this into our next match,” said Khalid Jamil, East Bengal’s head coach.

CCFC’s chief coach V. Soundararajan was disappointed. “We missed two golden volleys at the start and that was costly.”

He was not pleased with the slow tactics by the Bengal men in the second half. “I never expected this from a top side. It is not fair and also not a good sign for the sport. But it does not matter. Our boys played great football but it is the defence that we need to work hard on.”

Result: Chennai City FC 1 (Alexander Romario 43) lost to East Bengal 2 (Yusa Katsumi 26, Charles De Souza 31).
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