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May 5, 2012 6:30 PM IST

Air India 0-1 East Bengal: Trevor Morgan’s side see off the challenge of the Airmen to finish season on a high

A first half strike by Brazilian recruit Edmilson Marques was enough to guarantee the away side all three points against Santosh Kashyap’s men…..

By Ayush Srivastava

Tolgay Ozbey being blocked by an Air India midfielder

A solitary goal close to the half hour mark by Edmilson Marques saw East Bengal edge past Air India in a dull I-League encounter at the Balewadi stadium in Pune on Saturday.

The hosts started with Harshad Meher in goal and Sandesh Gadkari upfront while Trevor Morgan’s side had Edmilson Marques, Robin Singh and Tolgay Ozbey starting upfront in an attacking line-up.

The match started as a tight affair, as both teams gauged each other’s weaknesses, but slowly East Bengal started taking control of the match and Tolgay Ozbey in particular looked menacing.

In the 25th minute Robin Singh had a good opportunity at the edge of the box but shot just wide of the goal. However in the 27th minute Air India’s resistance was finally broken when after a period of sustained pressure Tolgay Ozbey found himself in a promising position and picked out Edmilson with a square pass, who had the simple task of putting the ball in the back of the net, and he made no mistake.

The half continued with the away side keeping possession far better than the hosts, who often resorted to long punts upfront.

At the stroke of half-time, Morgan’s side had a penalty call waved away, as it seemed Nirmal Chettri was fouled inside the box, but the referee allowed the game to go on.

Tolgay then had a chance in first half injury time to put some further daylight between themselves and the Airmen, but his shot, after being setup by Edmilson, was wayward and didn’t trouble the keeper.

So the two teams went into half time with East Bengal having a slim advantage, which on the balance of play they fully deserved.

The second half started with Air India showing more urgency, but they were not able to put the away side’s defense under any kind of pressure whatsoever, while Morgan’s side still seemed a potent side going forward, with the pace and strength of their front three.

However Takayuki Omi eventually made some inroads into the East Bengal defense, but his shot was woefully off target, after he was set-up by some smart play by Henry Ezeh.

Edmilson then hit a freekick straight at a wall and had a couple of more chances to add to his and his side’s tally, but he was unable to take any of those, before the Brazilian eventually got replaced by Sanju Pradhan.

The match though, failed to take-off in the second half, as neither side showed creativity in possession and at several instances it looked like a pre-season friendly.

Towards the end though, Air India tried to exert some more pressure on the away side’s defense, but Uga Okpara and Raju Gaikwad stood tall in defense.

East Bengal then played out the rest of the match holding on to possession at the other end of the pitch, seeing out the game to register a win that puts them in second position on the I-League table.

Air India F.C.


East Bengal F.C.

Sandip Nandy
Uga Okpara
Robin Singh
Mehtab Hossain
Subodh Kumar



Sanju Pradhan




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Top Scorers
Player   Goals Penalties
Sunil Chhetri Sunil Chhetri
14 3
Cornell Glen Cornell Glen
Shillong Lajong
14 3
Darryl Duffy Darryl Duffy
13 2
Josimar Josimar
Mohd Sp
13 1
Ranti Martins Ranti Martins
12 0