Colaco's side displayed a gritty performance at the Salt Lake Stadium as they took advantage of some slack defending from Mohammedan...
Armando Colaco's side move to third spot with this victory as they have 34 points from 20 matches. Meanwhile Mohammedan are rooted to the bottom spot and have another three matches to save themselves from going down.
Sanjoy Sen started with Sandeep Sangha in defense to partner Luciano Sobrosa with Mehrajuddin Wadoo relegated to the bench.
Colaco had Chidi Edeh upfront with his Japanese playmaker, Ryuji Sueoka operating just behind.
It was The Red and Gold brigade who drew first blood as Abhishek Das had acres of space to run down the right before putting in a neat ball for Sueoka at the near post. The Japanese made no mistake and smashed the ball past Luis Baretto who had no chance to stop.
Taro Hasegawa's cross in the 22nd minute was almost put into his own net by Robert Lalthlamuana with a hurried clearance. Two minutes before the half hour mark, Syed Rahim Nabi did ever so well to put in a great looking ball into the box which Josimar expertly chested down and played it on to Ajay Singh whose weak effort was held easily by Abhra Mondal in goal.
Mohammedan had a double chance which they failed to bury in the 32nd minute. A corner from Jerry Zirsanga was powerfully headed by Josimar towards goal but was saved by Abhra Mondal who threw himself to his right. On the follow-up, Ajay Singh's half volley was kept out by a heroic clearance by Abhishek Das on the line.
Raju Gaikwad's long clearance from his own box wasn't dealt with by Sangha. Sensing a chance, Joaquim Abranches dashed past his marker Nabi and took a touch beyond Baretto who had advanced out of his box, before walking the ball into the back of the net.
It took Mohammedan however only a minute to get a goal back as Nirmal Chettri's whipped ball from the right was headed in by Josimar into an empty net after Abhra Mondal failed to punch the ball after coming out for it.
It was a flurry of chances on either end as the half winded down. First it was Chidi Edeh who controlled a long ball brilliantly before playing in Sueoka who only had the goalkeeper to beat. However a heavy touch meant Baretto could come out and grasp the ball easily.
Josimar was furious as he was brought down by Raju Gaikwad as the referee waived down his penalty appeal.
The match was complete with missed passes and hashed chances galore after the game resumed. Just a minute after the restart, Penn Orji had a great chance to score but a last ditch tackle by Arnab Mondal denied him the chance to pull the trigger.
Amidst pressing by Mohammedan who wanted a way back into the match, it was East Bengal who scored their third in the most contentious fashion. Robert aimed a long ball towards Sueoka who was making a run but was clearly in an offside position. What Sueoka did next was he slowed his run and did not make contact with the ball allowing Chidi Edeh, who was onside to put it past Luis Baretto. Case in point was that all the Mohammedan players including the goalkeeper had stopped aniticipating an offside call.
Mohammedan were shell shocked after that incident and were too busy committing fouls as they lost their composure deeming Chidi's goal unfair.
Josimar had another pop at goal as Sangha's long ball wasn't cleared by Arnab Mondal which allowed the Brazilian to shoot. However the effort was just about saved by Abhra Mondal in goal.
The scoreline remained the same until the end as East Bengal made a strong case for themselves in the race to win the title.
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