The Goan side continued their winning ways as they downed the Kolkata outfit in their own backyard...
East Bengal were handed a 3-2 defeat by Salgaocar FC in a round eight I-League match at the Kalyani Stadium, Kolkata on Friday afternoon. Goals from Karma Tsewang (8'), Francis Fernandes (10') and Clifton Dias (60') did the job for the away side despite a late comeback by the Kolkata outfit with James Moga (64') and Seimenlen Doungel (77') getting on the score sheet.
Uga Okpara returned from suspension and took his place at the heart of the East Bengal defense while Naoba Singh replaced the injured Abhishek Das. James Moga and Chidi Edeh were the two strikers upfront as Falopa employed a 4-4-2.
Derrick Pereira made only one change to his team by including Clifton Dias in the starting eleven in place of Brian Mascarenhas. Karma Tsewang, Francis Fernandes and Gilbert Oliviera supported Daryll Duffy in attack as they lined-up in a 4-2-3-1 formation.
The first chance of the game fell for the home side as Lalrindika Ralte found Chidi inside the box but the Nigerian took one touch too many which allowed Chika Wali to block his effort.
However it was the visitors who took the lead in the eighth minute. Francis played a through-ball for Duffy whose shot was just about saved by Naoba on the goal-line. Karma picked up the pieces and slotted it home to make it 1-0.
A couple of minutes later, East Bengal defense was left in tatters by Francis as he embarked on a solo run to lob the ball over Abhijit Mondal to double Salgaocar’s lead.
Okpara was left for dead as Francis foxed him to embark on a brilliant run and it was only thanks to an alert Mondal that the score line remained the same.
Midway through the first half and Karanjit Singh was called into action for the very first time. He produced a twin save off Chidi and Ralte to deny the home side any joy. A minute later, Lobo too saw his effort being fisted away by the Salgaocar custodian.
The rest of the half saw Mehtab Hossain spray the ball to his flanks but they lacked penetration when going forward. Salgaocar continued to counterattack with pace as Okpara was called into action to deny Duffy an opportunity to shoot from inside the box.
Five minutes into the second half and Moga headed the ball down for Chidi who was once again late to react and the ball went out of play.
Falopa threw in Baljit Sahni to join the attack but the home side were getting outnumbered in the midfield.
Clifton Dias added his name on the score sheet after skipper Francis set him up inside the box for the former to volley it into the back of the net at the hour mark.
However four minutes later, East Bengal pulled one back through Moga as he put his head to good use from a pass by substitute Baljit Sahni.
In his bid to protect the two goal lead, Derrick brought in Rahul Kumar for Karma. The Red and Gold were lucky not to be a man down as Gurwinder headbutted Francis but was only shown a yellow card with over 24 minutes to go.
In the 77th minute, substitute Seminlen Doungel beat Karanjit Singh at the far post with a ground shot to give the assembled fans a hope of a comeback.
Substitute Claude Gnakpa got the better of three East Bengal defenders and it was thanks to a heroic effort of Mondal that the Salgaocar striker was denied a goal in the 87th minute.
East Bengal failed to test the Salgaocar rearguard thereafter despite the five minutes injury time added. The score lien remained the same until the final whistle to hand the Goan outfit yet another victory in this campaign.
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