With not a single point or a goal to their name, East Bengal's chances to qualify for the next round are now rather bleak....
East Bengal’s chances to qualify from their AFC Cup group received a further jolt, as a 2-0 loss to Arbil SC at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata on Wednesday sees them rooted to the bottom of their group, with no points or even a goal to show for their efforts.
The Iraqi outfit left it late, with strikes from Amjed Radhi and Abdulrazak Al Husein in the last quarter of the match helping them preserve their unbeaten streak in the tournament.
With the hot and humid weather far from the liking of the away side, it was the Kolkatan outfit who had the better first half.
However a combination of some brilliant defending by Arbil and some poor finishing by the home side’s forwards saw the two teams go into the break on level terms.
As the second half progressed, the away side started to acclimatize to the conditions and began to influence the proceedings more.
But East Bengal should have gone ahead in the 64th minute, when Tolgay Ozbey was presented with a golden opportunity, but the Australian’s shot forced a smart save from Arbil goalkeeper Sarhank Mohsin Nader.
And four minutes later, the away side hit the post via Radhi.
It was the sign of things to come, as 14 minutes from the final whistle, Radhi headed in Nabeel Sabah’s left wing cross past East Bengal’s custodian.
With Trevor Morgan’s side then pressing forward for an equalizer, Al Husein wrapped up the points in injury time with an accomplished finish into the top corner, after a swift counter-attack by the Iraqi outfit.
That proved to be the last piece of notable action in the tie, as a 2-0 win sent Arbil to the top of the standings, while East Bengal’s hopes of progressing further are in real jeopardy.