An injury struck East Bengal side were clinical in front of goal and earned a well deserved 3-1 victory over Rangdajied...
Armando Colaco relegated James Moga to the bench electing to start with Chidi Edeh and Joaquim Abranches upfront. Meanwhile the suspended Harmanjot Singh Khabra returned to the fold. However with Naoba Singh missing, Abhishek Das got a start on the right of defense.
Meanwhile Hering Shangpliang elected to start with Ranti Martins upfront along with Kim Yong beside him. Steven Dias was on the right of midfield while Munmum Lugun began on the left.
East Bengal almost got on the scoresheet in the very first minute of the match after Reisangmi Vashum who only started his second I-League match this season picked out Chidi with a lofted through ball. He brought it down well on his chest but failed to get it under control, letting the chance go wasted.
Meanwhile Steven Dias who was enjoying a second life after joining Randajied in the winter window whipped in two great balls inside the opening five minutes. Kim almost scored a spectacular overhead kick from one of them.
In what was a scrappy game so far, the breakthrough came in the 16th minute with the catalyst being a Raju Gaikwad long throw which created havoc in the box. The ball was headedby Abranches into the box and finally came out to Khabra whose weak effort found Chidi. The Nigerian striker was hacked down by Lamine Tamba before he could shoot. The referee had no hesitation and pointed to the spot.
Chidi made no mistake as he wrong footed the goalkeeper to give his team the lead. Randajied could have taken the lead eight minutes later. A specualtive effort from Ranti outside the box was tipped wide by Abhijit Mondal for a corner. It was a brilliant goalline clearance by Vashum from the ensuing corner to keep his team in the lead after an overhead kick by Eugeneson Lyngdoh this time.
However at the half hour mark Ranti Martins rose the highest as he headed in a Steven Dias delivery from the right, giving Abhijit no chance and equalising for his team.
It could have been better three minutes from half time for the away side when Lyngdoh did ever so well to win a freekick down the left. Steven Dias's brilliant whipped delivery was headed in at the far post by Lyngdoh but was flagged offside.
In what was a classic sucker punch, it was the Red and Gold brigade who struck in added time. A great through ball by Abranches was controlled well by Chidi who laid it off to Vashum. He had to take an extra touch as the ball was played behind him but managed to bring it under his control before placing a delightful shot to give his team the lead.
What appeared to be disaster for East Bengal appeared to be a blessing in disguise as James Moga was stretchered off leading to the introduction of young Seminlen Doungel. With his first touch he managed to place a deft chip past an advancing Rehenesh in spite of having to see off the attentions of the two centre backs.
While East Bengal looked to sit on their lead there was a lack of output upfront for the away team as they failed to break down East Bengal's defensive columns. Beisdes long range efforts from Eugenson Lyngdoh and T Lalnunpuia, the north eastern side had a glorious chance in the 75th minute. The two susbtitutes combined well but Lalnunpuia's great ball at the far corner was hacked wide by David Ngaihte who had made a great run to get there but failed to apply the finish.
Chidi meanwhile tried to emulate Wayne Rooney there in the 82nd minute when he saw Rehenesh off the line but unlike his English counterpart, his shot from the half line was wide of the goal.
Khabra could have added the icing on the cake in the 90th minute with a wicked finesse shot that had Rehenesh beaten but the crossbar came to his rescue. This was after Chidi had laid it off for Khabra who had made a late run in the box.
East Bengal now have 24 points from 16 matches while Rangdajied have 21 points from 19 matches.
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