East Bengal edged past George Telegraph 2-1 in their seventh match of the 2018 Calcutta Football League (CFL) Premier Division ‘A’ on Wednesday at the East Bengal ground.
Justice Morgan gave George the lead in the 69th minute and it was cancelled out by Mehtab Singh in the 75th minute. Skipper Koushik Sarkar netted the winner in the 91st minute to help East Bengal bag three points ahead of the Kolkata Derby.
Subhash Bhowmick made three changes to the East Bengal starting lineup. Koushik Sarkar replaced Samad Ali Mallick in the backline. Koushik was paired with Kinshuk Debnath in central defence and Mehtab moved to the right full back position. In midfield, Lalrindika Ralte and Laldanmawia Ralte returned in place of half-fit Brandon Vanlalremdika and Kamalpreet Singh, who was on a yellow card.
The Red and Golds were on the ascendency right from the beginning as they were desperate for three points before Sunday's showdown. The home side kept pressing in the attacking third but failed to keep their shots on target. George Telegraph goalkeeper Bubai Singha produced three good saves in front of the goal early in the game.
Mehtab Singh came close to score the opening goal of the match in the 28th minute after receiving a through ball down the middle from Lalrindika Ralte. Mehtab had time and space in front of him but his shot was ultimately blocked by Singha.
Joby Justin missed one of the easiest chances of the day right after the hour mark. He received a through ball from Brandon, dribbled past an opponent defender and unleashed a shot which beat Bubai but hit the goalpost and went out.
Lalram Chullova attempted a shot at goal from almost 30 yards which hit the post once again and came back. Amna attempted to put the ball into the net but the linesman signalled offside.
Against the run of play, George’s Justice Morgan broke the deadlock in the 69th minute. He went past Kinshuk Debnath and took a shot with his left foot. The ball went straight into the goal.
East Bengal equalised in the 75th minute when Mehtab Singh headed the ball in from Mahmoud Al Amna’s cross. Amna floated an inch-perfect cross which found an unmarked Mehtab inside the box.
Desperate for a second goal, the Kolkata giants went all-out in the final 15 minutes of the match. They finally found redemption with Koushik Sarkar’s long-range shot in the 91st minute which beat Bubai Singha and went in.
It was a much-needed three points for the Red and Golds who march into the Kolkata Derby with same points as their rivals. But their performance will definitely raise a quite few eyebrows ahead of the big game.