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Relief in an unsatisfactory Victory | Post Match Analysis By Satyaki Das East Bengal Club 2-0 Aizwal FC Hero I-League 2016

We won, and got all important three points. But it was a day of frustration, incredible misses, uffs and aahs, and lack of cohesive game plan

First, the big fish: The biggest i-League signing took the field today, and in his debut, Mendy looked impressive. He is yet to memorize the names of everyone around; still his skills are too far ahead of the rest. As expected, he is incredibly strong in air and lent vital muscle in midfield. As he settles, he will improve.

Who was missed? Rehnesh and Sehnaz. With Mendy and Sehnaz in the center of the park, the team can have two engines. Mehtab is showing signs of aging, and limiting himself in a zone, creates gap in the center. He still a perfect first XI player in 4-2-3-1, but in 4-4-2 both center halves need to play a box to box role. Barreto incredibly reminded us of last season. Not even his staunchest supporter will say that he starts the game well - and as usual, he was incredibly poor in gripping the ball. He did make a few good saves, but Rehnesh’s solidity was missing.

In the back line? Arnab and Belo both had a mediocre outing against an opponent that lacked teeth in attack. Moments of nerves were shown and patches of lapse of concentration surfaced, specially when the team took a two goal cushion. Bheke had another forgetful outing and was often caught napping in wrong position. More than once, he went in final tackle when not required - and got into referee’s books in one such moment of madness. If his attacking instinct earns him 7/10, his defense is no more than 4/10. Saumik had another good game. He was solid in most part, and joined the attack when needed. He is my MoM.

In the middle: Mehtab was vintage Mehtab - fighting for every inch. He did what he did best, sat back and won a few battles. But as said, in 4-4-2 that is probably not enough. Mendy showed that his addition will definitely have an impact, and so long as he was in midfield, East Bengal was easily dominating the proceedings. Both our first team wing halves - Jairu and Dong, were complete disappointment today. Dong need to rediscover himself; his silken touches seem to have deserted him and his soft game is being muscled out. Not even a single worthwhile cross came from his side of business, and he missed a dolly. Jairu’s bad game was probably coming on the back of an incredible run - and today was the day. His tackles were mistimed a few times and crosses were over-hit. Though his head did provide the sigh of relief and broke the deadlock.

In front: Sabeeth did not made any meaningful impact and looked rusty after a long layoff. He will probably need some more time in the middle. Ranty reminded of run-up of Venkatesh Prasad with his speed and left his scoring boot in the dressing room. At least three gilt edged chance came his way; and went begging.

The subs: Joaquim put his name for an assist in an otherwise ordinary match. Lobo needs a shave, badly. In almost over half an hour, he did little that earns him the fame of the best ball player of the country, other than the second assist. Rafique was introduced in dying moments and had little time to have any impact.

The goals: Head ball was the winner. A Joaquim cross from the right wing got delicately deflected of Jairu’s head to make it 1-0. Minutes later a Lobo cross from the left met the power of Mendy to find its way past the Aizawl custodian.

Overall: The team won, earned three points. First half was marked with lack of wing play and second half, at times, was even worse. Substitutions, to an extent, clicked today - as both assists came from the subs. However, the wide gulf in quality of the two sides was apparent, as we still created many chances, to make it a tennis like scoreline. Finishing was pathetic, and final result was 2-0.

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