Wednesday, November 29, 2017 Report by
East Bengal Drops Points In Their Opening Tie Against Defending Champions Aizawl FC.
Lapse of concentration denied Khalid Jamil & his boys all 3 points against defending champions Aizawl FC. The chill of the winter winds are slowly creeping into the City Of Joy but the mercury soared inside Salt Lake Yuva Bharati Stadium as defending champions kick-started against the red & gold Kolkata outfit.
The matchday lineup might have surprised some as junior team graduate Mehtab Singh was promoted into the first XI along with keeper Mirshad & Salam Ranjan Singh. The match started with the hosts playing a measured game against the defending champions. Long balls were often launched from the back by Eduardo & Bazo into Plaza & wide players & the chance came early for Plaza to make it 1-0 but the shot was blocked by Kareem. Flurries of chances came & went by. Meanwhile, young Mehtab only lasted for 36 minutes was subbed by experienced Chullova. The first half ended all square as played safe but the hosts had better opportunities & shots on goals, even a Willis Plaza shot hitting the woodwork.
The second half started on a brighter note for the hosts as they came out all guns blazing & the Aizawl defense looked helpless. A flurry of attacks was shielded by the Aizawl Fc custodian Avilash Paul. It was the 65th minute saw the first goal scored by the new big Brazilian recruit Eduardo. A corner by Amna was flicked off by Brandon for the unmarked Brazilian who made no mistake heading the hosts into the lead. The Red & Gold knights scored again when Md. Rafique's shot was deflected by Katsumi Yusa making 2-0 in the 71st minute.
When it all seemed that the home side will start their campaign with all 3 points a setpiece by David was headed by Kareem into the path of William who tapped it into the goal to make it 2-1 in the 73rd minute of the match. There is an old maxim in football the sides which scores the goal are most vulnerable to concede the next one, this axiom came true for the Red & Gold outfit.
Meanwhile, the hosts went into a shell allowing the visitors to play their game. The dividends of Aizawl's hard work paid off again in the dying seconds when Mirshad saved a shot for a corner with 30 seconds remaining for the final whistle to go off, William scored again to make it 2-2 from a goalmouth scuffle as the East Bengal custodian tried to fist off the corner leaving ardent Red & Gold supporters shell-shocked.
The start may have been rough for us but the second half saw the glimpse of some beautiful midfield play amongst players is some of the positives to look for. 14 years is to long a wait & Khalid & his boys are already under scrutiny after their first match debacle, still, all can expect this team to be serious contenders for I-League as the first match always has nerves to settle down. Next up is the Boro derby against arch-rivals Mohun Bagan on 3rd December is going to be a mouth-watering clash.