First-half goals from Lalrindika Ralte and Kassim Aidara helped East Bengal register a comfortable 2-0 win against West Bengal Police in their first match of the 2018 Calcutta Football League at the East Bengal ground on Monday evening.
Subhash Bhowmick made just one change in East Bengal's starting lineup. Injured full-back Lalrozama Fanai was replaced by skipper Samad Ali Mallick.
The Red and Golds started the match as favourites and dominated proceedings right from the off. They came close to scoring on a couple of occasions within the first 10 minutes of the match but missed their target.
After a series of attacks in the West Bengal Police half, the home side broke the deadlock in the 14th minute. Lalrindika Ralte scored the opening goal from Kassim Aidara's assist.
The move started with Samad Ali Mallick's cross from the right flank that fell to Aidara inside the box. He saw Ralte's run down the middle and squared the ball for him. The attacking midfielder initially took a shot at goal which was saved by goalkeeper Soumava Ghosh but the goalkeeper could not prevent the rebound effort from going in.
Bhowmick made a tactical change in the 32nd minute as he introduced Bidyasagar Singh in place of Brandon Vanlalremdika.
The home side further increased their lead seven minutes later from Kassim Aidara's header. Danmawia Ralte forwarded a through ball down the left flank for Lalram Chullova who sent a pinpoint cross into the box. Aidara found the back of the net with a composed header.
East Bengal should have scored again within the first 15 minutes of the second half. Bidyasagar Singh missed one of the easiest chances of the match when he failed to score from a one-on-one opportunity. Danmawia Ralte spotted Bidyasagar's run down the right flank and forwarded a long ball. The youngster received the ball inside the box but failed to score as the ball hit the side-netting.
Ace midfielder Mahmoud Al Amna was finally introduced in the 68th minute and he brought with him much-needed fluidity in East Bengal's midfield.
Kassim Aidara was undoubtedly the best player on the pitch due to his impeccable work rate. It was a comfortable win for the Kolkata giants as they picked up their first victory of the CFL 2018 season.