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ISL: East Bengal pile the misery on Bengaluru FC with narrow win

This article was originally published in NewIndianExpress.com

This game was a throwback to those intense battles and it was the Red and Golds who emerged victorious in the end with a 1-0 win at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Fatorda on Saturday.

Published: 09th January 2021 10:05 PM   |   Last Updated: 09th January 2021 10:09 PM   |   A+ A  A-

BFC's Kristian Opseth tries to avoid a tough challenge by SCEB's Narayan Das. (Photo | ISL media)

Even though East Bengal are only into their first season in the Indian Super League, their opponents on Saturday, Bengaluru FC, have been one of their biggest rivals when the two competed in the I-League. 

This game was a throwback to those intense battles and it was the Red and Golds who emerged victorious in the end with a 1-0 win at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Fatorda on Saturday.

Matti Steinmann scored the winner in the 20th minute for the Kolkata outfit. 

Bengaluru have now slumped to their fourth straight defeat in the league and are looking over their shoulders as teams below them are catching up.

Meanwhile, East Bengal who had a poor start to the season are now just two points behind the Bengaluru outfit.  

There was a lot of focus on Naushad Moosa who had the responsibility of steadying the ship after the departure of Carles Cuadrat.

He decided to give Parag Shrivas his first start for Bengaluru this season and also gave a full debut to Ajith Kumar. And while it was commendable that the club are giving youngsters opportunities, the former Indian international will have to quickly restore the spark into this side to stay in the hunt for play-offs.

As the action got underway, it was East Bengal who started the game with better intent and created more chances while also enjoying more of the possession.

Bengaluru FC were not closing them down quickly and the Kolkata outfit managed to stretch the game and got their reward in the 20th minute.

Their fullback Narayan Das managed to run down the left flank and put in a perfectly weighted cross.

Their midfielder Matti Steinmann managed to time his run into the box to perfected and guided it past the towering figure of Gurpreet Singh Sandhu with the deftest of touches.

It was a finish that would have made their coach Robbie Fowler proud and reminded him of one of his own finishes from his glorious playing days.

They were missing him in the dugout due to his suspension but he looked on from the stands.

Meanwhile, for Bengaluru, their experienced campaigners like Sunil Chhetri and Dimas Delgado were not able to influence the game as they went into half-time trailing 1-0.

Bengaluru emerged for the second half with a lot more determination and piled the pressure of East Bengal.

Chhetri was central to it all as he drew an acrobatic save from Debjit early on.

Again in the 60th minute, Debjit denied him yet again when a thunderous low shot from Chhetri was stunningly tipped away by the East Bengal custodian.

Close to the hour mark, Moosa decided to give another young opportunity to prove himself as Namgyal Bhutia made his first ever appearance in the ISL.

Bright Enobakhare almost killed the game off when he latched onto a mis-pass from Bhutia and was only denied by a stunning save from Gurpreet.

Bengaluru almost equalised in the 84th minute when a brilliant team move was almost finished off by Paartalu but his shot was kept out by Daniel Fox who defended resolutely and held on. 

Full time score: East Bengal 1 (Steinmann 20') bt Bengaluru FC  


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