A wasteful East Bengal eased past West Bengal Police in their first official match of the Calcutta Football League 2018 on Monday at the East Bengal ground.
A game where the scoreline should have been at least 4-0 in favour of the home side ended up seeing just the two goals scored by the Red and Golds.
Without a single foreign player in their squad, West Bengal Police where simply no match for mighty East Bengal. As expected, it took East Bengal only 15 minutes to break the deadlock when Lalrindika Ralte netted the opening goal after getting on the end of Kassim Aidara’s pass.
Subhash Bhowmick once again opted for a 4-2-3-1 formation with Kamalpreet Singh and Kassim Aidara in central midfield. Lalrindika Ralte, who came back to East Bengal after spending a season at Indian Super League (ISL) side NorthEast United, operated in the hole behind striker Gagandeep Bali.
Didika, as he is popularly known as, impressed with his graceful and swift moves and short passing. He was simply flawless throughout the game and the goal perfectly complimented his effort on the field.
Having played as a wide midfielder recently, the player credited Bhowmick for deploying him in a new role. “Subhash Bhowmick knows me from my Churchill Brothers days. So he knows my style very well. This season he told to me play in a more advanced role just behind the striker.”
He also mentioned, “It was very important for me to get a goal. I am happy that I scored.”
Another star for East Bengal Kassim Aidara scored the second goal by scoring a very simple header from Lalram Chullova’s cross.
If Didika was impressive upfront, Aidara was the one who orchestrated the game. He was practically everywhere on the field and it seems like East Bengal have got a good box-to-box midfielder.
An area which would concern the team's think tank would be their profligacy up front. Gagandeep Bali was extremely poor in the final third and first touch and finishing left a lot to be desired.
It would be fair to say that Bali remained on the field until the 75th minute only because of a lack of better alternatives.
But coach Bastob Roy didn’t seem worried though. He suggested that his striker will improve as the season progressed. Also with Joby Justin’s arrival, who is unwell, things will look brighter.
“They (West Bengal Police) had set up an offside trap and we could not find a way to beat that. But that is fine. We have to practice more and work on our mistakes. Gagandeep (Bali) did well. Once Joby (Justin) joins our problems will be solved. He had a fever but he is slowly recovering,” said Roy.
Overall it was good opening game for the defending champions, who are eyeing their ninth consecutive CFL title this season. While the midfielders provided assurance and hope to the fans, the attack left a lot to be desired. Hopefully, as the coach suggested, things will brighten as the season progresses.