Arthur Papas earns his first three points of the season as a struggling East Bengal side seemed to have run out of ideas allowing the Goans to simply run them over...
Marcos Falopa picked out a strong side to face Dempo SC with Abhijit Mondal getting the nod over Gurpreet Sandhu in goal. Uga Okpara and Arnab Mondal helmed the defense while the duo of James Moga and Chidi Edeh started upfront with Cavin Lobo and Shylo Tulunga on either wing.
Arthur Papas stuck with the centre back pairing of Shinnosuke Honda and Simon Colosimo with Billy Mehmet as the one striker.
It was a disastrous start by the home side as Dempo took the lead in under three minutes as Billy Mehmet ran down the right and sold Arnab Mondal a dummy before pinging in a low cross for Clifford Miranda who had cut in from the left. With goalkeeper Abhijit Mondal ball watching and Naoba Singh failing to track his man, Clifford only had the empty net to aim at and put Dempo ahead.
East Bengal had a half chance to equalise in the next minute as Arnab tried to make amends by picking out Chidi with a long ball who headed it onto James Moga's path but it was Subhashish who came out to smother the ball.
It was then a clutch of half chances as first some good bit of work between Beto down the left and Mehmet in the middle allowed Jeje with space to shoot but his scuffed shot goes straight to Abhijit. The home team had two chances in the 20th minute as first Cavin Lobo found space down the left to pick out Moga only for Colosimo to beat the South Sudanese striker to the header.
In the ensuing corner it was Moga who headed the ball across the face of the goal and it was only inches by which it evaded Chidi who took up a position at the far post.
In the 33rd minute, Miranda should have completed his brace in what would be a carbon copy of his first goal as he again rushed into the box with Mehmet beating Arnab down the right to put in a cross which just evaded the skipper who flung himself to the ball.
East Bengal were handed a reprieve when Samir Naik handled the ball inside the box and the referee Pratap Singh awarded a spot-kick to Falopa's side. However much to the assembled crowd's agony, Chidi blasted his shot wide in the 35th minute.
Peter Carvalho was umarked at the far post and was found out perfectly by Beto's corner but he failed to head the ball in.
Just like the first half, it was Dempo who struck first in the second half too as in the 54th minute they doubled their advantage out of nothing. Clifford Miranda swung in a corner which beat all the Red and Gold defenders inlcuding the goalkeeper who missed a regulation catch allowing an unmarked Beto to smash the ball in at the far post.
A minute before the half hour mark, Samir Naik's hopeful ball found Mehmet unmarked in the box but Mehmet chose to delay pulling the trigger and passed it back to Jeje whose fierce shot just sailed wide having taken a deflection.
Disaster struck Falopa's wards yet again with only a quarter of the game left as Jeje did well to hold up the ball with Arnab for attention before smartly finding substitute Joy Ferrao's run. It was then a desperate lunge from behind by Okpara who had already been booked earlier in the game which left the referee with no choice but to send him off and also award the away side a penalty.
Beto stepped up and made no mistake as he completed his brace sending Abhijit Mondal the wrong way as he tucked the ball to the left.
Substitute Baljit Singh Sahni pulled one back for the Kolkata outfit, five minutes from time after some good work by Moga who found Sahni with a back heel after Jeje was guilty of gifting the ball. Sahni made space for himself and drilled his shot to the left of Roy Chowdhury giving him no chance whatsoever.
Moga found himself free down the right just in the next minute but his shot sailed wide instead of the top left corner that he was aiming at. Chidi too could have got his name on the scoresheet a minute before full time as his piledriver from the right went straight to Roy Chowdhury who parried it thankfully away from any East Bengal shirt.
With the win, Arthur Papas and Dempo record their first win in this season's I-League while East Bengal failed to build on from their 4-0 thrashing of Shillong Lajong as they look to take on Kuwait FC in the AFC Cup semi-final next week.
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