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Dempo hold below par East Bengal in I-league clash

827   //    04 Nov 2012, 00:54 IST

The clash between the current I-League champions Dempo Sc and the current Federation Cup champions East Bengal finished in a 1-1  draw in Salt Lake stadium today in the fourth round of the I-League. Edeh Chidi put the homeside ahead from a penalty in the 31st minute of the game. Peter Carvalho rescued Armando Colaco and co this time by scoring a late equalizer in the 82nd minute. With this stalemate, both teams remain unbeaten in the I-League.

There were almost 60,000 Red & Gold supporters present at the Salt Lake stadium today to cheer their team and witness a victory, but Peter Carvalho spoiled the party for them and restored parity for the visitors.

Without any argument, the two current best sides met today under the supervision of the two best coaches of the country right now. So it was all about tactics and strategy between the two veteran mentors. Regarding the previous track-record, Dempo boss Armando Colaco is far behind East Bengal’s British coach Trevor James Morgan. In Morgan’s tenure, these two sides have met 8 times, out of which the Red & Gold were victorious 5 times while the Blue side managed to win once only, with two matches ending in a stalemate. So it was salvage time for Armando Colaco while Morgan tried to improve his record.

Morgan kept his side unchanged, apart from the wounded custodian Abhijit Mondal, he started with the same winning eleven of Pune F.C match. Abhijit was replaced by the 6 fit 2 inch Gurpreet Singh Sandhu.

Everybody knows Armando likes to work with the local boys. He always keeps faith in them and he became the most successful coach of the country by working with those “desi boys”, having five I-League crowns in his kitty. Noticeably, Armando kept the EPL star Rohan Ricketts and the sensational Joaquin Abranches out of his first eleven, and started with the most experienced campaigner Climax Lawrence in his midfield.

The entire first half was dominated by the hosts, as Mehtab & Pen Orji were leading all the attacks towards Dempo’s box. Manndeep got a very easy chance in the early stages of the game but he failed to score from a 1-on-1 situation and only managed to find the safe pair of hands of the Dempo custodian Subhasish Roychowdhury.

Finally, the Dempo defence yielded in front of the immense pressure of East Bengal attacks, as veteran Mahesh Gawli failed to deal with the goal bound Naoba Singh. Mahesh tried to stop him by tackling him from behind, and referee Ajeet Meetai blew the whistle and pointed towards the spot. Chidi was on hand to convert it from the spot. There were few more occasions where East Bengal could have increased their lead but due to the safe hands of Subhasish, the first half ended 1-0 in the home team’s favour.

Second half

Armando Colaso changed the entire strategy in the second half, and a different Dempo was on display from the starting of the second half, playing long balls instead of short passes. They made three vital changes, introduced Rowlison, Joaqim and foreign recruit Rohan Rickets in the place of Mahesh Gawli, Clifford Miranda and Koko Sakibo which became fruitful for them.

A genuine penalty, when Ryuji Suoeka was brought down in the box by East Bengal defender Saumik Dey, was denied to the visitors by the referee Ajeet Metai. The Dempo players got furious, pushed and slapped referee. The ref made another blunder by showing only a yellow to Ryuoi Suoeka instead of red.

Naoba passed a delightful through ball to Penn inside the Dempo box, he slipped the ball towards Robin Singh and incredibly, the East Bengal forward Robin Singh missed from six yards, a really critical miss from that position. If Robin had scored, the the match could have sealed in East Bengal’s favour.

Dempo got their equalizer in the 82nd minute from a corner against the run of play. The ball swung to the far corner and was headed back towards goal by Cresson Antao, before a goalmouth scramble ensued and it was Peter Carvalho who had the last touch, before the ball ended in the back of the net. It was Gurpreet’s indecision that cost the home side. Later, East Begal had a few more chances but they failed to convert them.

This season, East Bengal have been suffering a lot since the beginning due to lack of penetration across the opponent box. Most of the times, Chidi was missing a companion in up front. I think East Bengal officials should think immediately regarding that issue.

After four rounds of I-League, Dempo is leading the tally with 10 points from four matches, and East Bengal is close behind, with 8 points from four matches.

Final thoughts: With due respect, why did Morgan not try to seal his defence line in the later stage of second half, when East Bengal was leading 1-0? Why did he not try to cut the pace of Joaquim in the left side? Questions will also arise regarding the inclusion of Robin Singh in the place of Manandeep Singh in second half. I think he should have brought a blocker instead of a forward for holding the 1-0 margin till the end. Does Robin Singh really deserve a place in a heavyweight side like East Bengal? I think time will give us all answers.

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