A sluggish East Bengal side, who were guilty of wasting quite a few chances, overcame Salgaocar FC at the Salt Lake Stadium, thanks to a second half goal from Edeh Chidi..East Bengal toiled their way to a 1-0 win over Salgaocar FC at the Salt Lake Stadium with Edeh Chidi scoring the only goal in the 66th minute in a round eight I-League match.
Trevor Morgan decided to start with an unchanged side to the one that thumped a hapless ONGC FC 5-0, with Edeh Chidi and Manandeep Singh starting upfront with Penn Orji operating behind the duo.
David Booth, meanwhile went with the same lineup that held Prayag United to a stalemate away from home with Sean Rooney playing the role of the lone striker and supported by a five man midfield with Quinton Jacobs the most forward of the five, while Francis Fernandes and Gilbert Oliviera patrolled the flanks.
The match started off at breakneck pace with the Red and Golds desperate to seek an early advantage. Defender Arnab Mondal came close twice as Mehtab Hussain swung in two dangerous looking corners into the box, before ten minutes had passed.
Manandeep Singh could easily have given his side the lead as Mehtab Hussain's freekick from the edge of the box was met with a firm header from the India international and Karanjit Singh had to really scramble to save his header.
On the 20th minute, Fulganco Cardozo was lucky not to pick up a second booking and receive his marching orders, as he hauled down Penn Orji just outside the box in a clumsy fashion. The ensuing freekick however was wasted by Ishfaq Ahmed.
Just after the half hour mark Penn Orji missed a delightful chance as he shot high from point blank range. The move was started by the Nigerian himself, as he played a delightful ball to Manandeep Singh who showed brute strength to hold his man before slipping the ball to an onrushing Harmanjot Singh Khabra who returned the favour by passing it to Penn himself.
Two minutes later, Penn was at it again, as this time Edeh Chidi chested the ball and flicked it to the path of the onrushing Nigerian, who was beaten to the ball by Augustin Fernandes who smartly got the ball away for a corner.
The game was then reduced to long shots from midfield as Edeh Chidi and co. tried their efforts from distance while Sean Rooney did likewise for Salgaocar.
The away side had a really great chance to break the stalemate, as Sean Rooney was found unmarked in the box after Arnab had misjudged a header from a Nicolau Colaco cross. However the Australian made a hash of the chance as his first touch was poor and Arnab dived in to make a timely block.
The second half began like the first started with Trevor Morgan certainly sending out his side to win this at all costs.
Just like in the first, Arnab Mondal made a hash of the free header from yet another Mehtab Hussain corner just after the half was underway.
At the hour mark, it was The Greens who could not put to bed some half chances which ultimately cost them the match. First it was Quinton Jacobs who shot hopelessly high after Gilbert Oliviera had found him free in the box. Then it was Francis Fernandes whose shot was deflected for a corner after Sean Rooney had done ever so well to find him.
Taking full advantage of their profligacy in front of goal, it was East Bengal who capitalized 6 minutes after the hour mark, as the home side got a goal out of nothing. On the break, Penn Orji ran through the midfield before picking out Chidi who was on the right flank. Chidi took Augustin Fernandes out of the game, accelerating rapidly before shooting for goal. Unfortunately for Karanjit Singh who had the shot probably covered, the ball took a deflection of Collin Abranches and landed up at the back of the net.
Thereafter David Booth's side did try to create a couple of chances but none were converted. Luciano Sobroba saw header go straight into the hands of goalkeeper Gurpreet Sandhu from a Francis Fernandes corner-kick.
Salgaocar need to pick themselves up from this defeat and get a win under their belt to boost their confidence. However things will not be easy for the side when they return to Goa, as they take on reigning champions, Dempo SC in their next match.
East Bengal continue to have the meanest defence in the league with just a goal conceded in eight matches. Trevor James Morgan can be moreover proud of the shielding work performed by his three tireless midfielders in the form of Mehtab, Khabra and Ishfaq Ahmed who make it easy for the front three to weave their magic.
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