Wednesday, February 01, 2017 Report by
East Bengal Breaks Mumbai Jinx Leads Point Table.
The match was critical for East Bengal to carry on their dominance in I-League 2016-2017, along with a jinx that has haunted the Red & Gold brigade since 2013. The Red & Gold side started their dominant play just after the kick off with pacy counter attacks combined with slick passing that paid off in the 9th min when a hold up played back to Mehtab Hossain who then passed the ball to onrushing Rahul Bheke on the right flank, he didn't make any mistake whipping the ball in the box for Willis Plaza who then displayed his utter strength & control muscling out Pratik Chaudhury & Shallun Pires slotting it past a hapless Kunal Sawant to make it 1-0 for the hosts. Intense pressure by East Bengal paid off again, this time the East Bengal skipper delivered with a peach of a long ball for Willis Plaza who again outwitted Raegan Singh with two deft touches before thumping it past the onrushing Mumbai FC custodian to make it 2-0.
The time when Red & Gold fans expected their team to kill the game off East Bengal felt off the boil a bit. This may be due to back to back matches being played within a span of 60 hours, with different weather conditions. The first half ended that saw players tiring a bit.
Mumbai FC skipper Thoi Singh & Pratik Chaudhury was lucky enough to escape a booking when they barged into Mehtab Hossain twice.
The second half started on a brighter note for the visitors when they brought on Karan Sawhney & Victorino Fernandes to pep up their attack up front that almost paid off when Denzil Theobald scored but was flagged offside by the linesman. Mumbai was piling pressure with East Bengal lacking edge in midfield that was looking tired. 63rd min saw Wedson Anselme subbed for the much reputed Romeo Fernandes who made his first appearance for the club.
The game went on with East Bengal defense busy containing Mumbai FC attack upfront that lacked teeth & finishing quality.
Nikhil Pujary was subbed in the 84th min with East Bengal left back Robert coming on to bolstered the defense that was looking feeble.
The match ended with the same scoreline & as expected Willis Plaza was awarded The Hero Of The Match. The most disappointing act came in the additional time when Mehtab Hossain picked up his 4th yellow card in the row for needless foul & may miss the all important fixture against newbies Chennai City FC before the high intense derby against Mohun Bagan on 12th Feb 2017.
Though TJM saw his team ending up on the winning side making it 5 in a row but he will be equally worried about his team's display in second half.