AFC Cup: Johor Darul humiliate East Bengal 4-1
East Bengal goes down 1-4 against a strong Johor Darul Ta’zim in a crucial AFC Cup Group F tie. The Malaysian side scored twice in each half to humiliate the I-League runner-up side of 2014. Ranti Martins scored one goal in the first half from a free-kick to restore some respect for his side.
Johor Darul was clearly the favourites to win this tie from the very first minute. In front of an energetic crowd, the home side displayed great brand of football and clearly dominated the proceedings for the entire 90 minutes.
The home side took the lead at the beginning of the game from a brilliant curling free-kick. East Bengal came back to the game after conceding first. For a change under the new coach Eelco Shcattorie, the Kolkata side avoided aerial deliveries and concentrates on ground passing. They were slowly getting the grip of the game.
JDT players were clearly better on the field by both strength and pace. Johor Darul’s striker Safee Sali, on one occasion, almost humiliated Gurwinder Singh by beating him with speed, looking to score. Gurwinder thankfully could manage the situation well with a late clearance.
Ranti Martins restored parity in the 35th minute, when East Bengal won a free-kick just outside the box. Ranti curled the ball well; it took a deflection of the wall and entered the goal. It was clearly a lucky goal for the Indian side, as the goalkeeper could do nothing in that situation.
Four minutes later, East Bengal’s Australian defender Milan Susak was at fault to handle the ball inside their penalty box and the referee awarded a penalty. S. Rahim blasted a shot into the back of the net to give his side a lead.
Johor Darul strike two early goals in the second half and finished the game then and there. The last goal of the game was of the game was simply awes trucking. Malaysian international Safee Sali scored from a fantastic back volley.
East Bengal dominated possession in the final stages of the match. They controlled the game in the midfield area. Also Dudu Omagbemi and Ranti Martins were wasteful in few occasions.
East Bengal can take some positives from this game as they played a better football than what they used to play under their previous coach Armando Colaco. But in all probability, with such an ageing squad the Kolkata giants should not expect much from the AFC Cup.