A Robin Singh winner ensures that the Kolkata side progress into the round of four at the expense of Pune FC, Dempo SC and Mohammedan Sporting…Defending champions East Bengal remained on course to win the competition to complete a hat-trick of Federation Cup titles as they topped Group A of the quarterfinal league with seven points.
Trevor Morgan’s side downed Mauricio Afonso’s team by a goal with Robin Singh being the star for his side in the second half of what otherwise was a listless match at the Salt Lake Stadium, Kolkata. However Dempo SC shall surely be unhappy with the decision of referee Pratap Singh to not award them a penalty late in the second half injury time.
East Bengal were forced to make once change as Tolgay Ozbey made his way into the starting line-up with Alan Gow being suspended. Dempo SC named an unchanged first eleven for this important fixture.
The Kolkata side had a decent chance in the very first minute as Tolgay’s dangerous cross from the left saw Subhasish come off his line to spill the ball.
The two teams kept looking to seize an advantage but failed to create an open chance as play in the attacking third lacked quality. The defenders on both sides were adept at their work and never allowed the opposition’s strikers to get a look in.
The first real opportunity came in the 36th minute as Subhasish failed to judge the flight of the ball from a corner as Okpara failed to head home. Tolgay latched onto the pieces and sent the ball in once again but Vashum’s shot went wide under pressure from Samir Naik from six yards out.
Dempo, known for their possession play, were clearly second best to the Red and Gold’s as Mehtab Hussain and co dominated the middle of the park.
Around the hour mark, Trevor Morgan made three substitutions with K Paite, Baljit Sahni and Sanju Pradhan making their way in for Naoba Singh, Penn Orji and Reisangmi Vashum.
It was only a matter of time before East Bengal scored and the it did at last in the 70th minute when Tolgay Ozbey brilliantly ran with the ball into the box from the right to pull it back for Robin Singh whose first time shot took a deflection off Baljit Sahni and went in.
The Goan side too made a couple of changes but to no affect as they struggled in the midfield. The famed wingers of Dempo SC failed to produce a decent cross in the game and it clearly highlighted that the team desperately needs to sign an attacking midfield if they hope to pose a strong challenge in the I-League.
In the final minute of the injury time, Tolgay Ozbey handled the ball inside the area which referee Pratap Singh choose to ignore by giving a free-kick on the edge of the penalty box instead of the spot-kick. The resultant free-kick saw Anthony Pereira fail to test goalkeeper Sandip Nandy.
The match ended with the same scoreline as Dempo couldn't come up with the goods to equalise.
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