CFL 2019: East Bengal edge out Mohammedan Sporting to remain in the title hunt

Durand Cup Media
Mohammedan Sporting's title hopes end after they go down fighting against East Bengal in their last match of the league.... 

East Bengal beat Mohammedan Sporting 3-2 in their 10th match of the Calcutta Football League (CFL) on Thursday at the Salt Lake Stadium.

Pintu Mahata (12'), Jaime Santos Colado (45') and Marcos De La Espada (59') were on target to seal three points for East Bengal. Borja Gomez scored an own goal in the 24th minute and Arthur Kouassi pulled one back for Mohammedan in the 83rd minute. 

Alejandro Menendez made five changes in the East Bengal starting XI which defeated NBP Rainbow AC in their last match. Samad Ali Mallick, Marti Crespi, Asheer Akhar, Rohlupuia and Marcos De La Espada made way for Kamalpreet Singh, Borja Gomez, Mehtab Singh, Lalrdindika Ralte and Jaime Santos Colado.

It was an end to end affair right from the beginning of the match as both teams were desperate for three points to remain in the hunt for the title. 

The Red and Golds took the lead in the 12th minute as Pintu Mahata found the back of the net with a diving header. Jaime Santos initiated the move by cutting in from the left and squaring it to Tondomba Naorem. Naorem forwarded a through ball for Kamalpreet on the right who sent a cross into the box and Mahata netted the ball home with a diving header. 

Mohammedan responded quickly as they equalised in the 24th minute thanks to an own goal by Borja. The Black Panthers won a free-kick at the edge of the box after Naorem handled the ball while blocking Satyam Sharma's cross. Kareem Omolaja sent a curling free-kick and the Spanish defender headed the ball in. 

East Bengal restored their lead at the stroke of half time from a penalty goal after Mohammedan defender Saiful Rahman handled the ball inside the box. The referee gave Saiful a straight red and Jaime found the back of the net from 12 yards.

10-man Mohammedan took a cautious approach in the second half. Alejandro, on the other hand, introduced Marcos Espada early in the second half to add more goals. 

The substitution did wonders as the Spanish striker netted the third goal in the 59th minute from Lalrdindika Ralte's square pass. Abhishek Ambekar started the move by sending a long ball down the left flank for Ralte who in turn squared it into the box for Marcos. 

The Black Panthers went all guns blazing after conceding the third goal. Their persistence in the attacking third finally paid off in the 83rd minute when Arthur Kouassi pulled one back.

The striker received a long ball from Tirthankar Sarkar inside the box and found the back of the net quite easily. Kouassi's marker Mehtab Singh was caught napping.

East Bengal climbed to the top of the table with the win. They now have to win their last match against Calcutta Customs and hope Peerless drop points in either of their two remaining matches.