East Bengal overcome Shillong Lajong 2-1 in a closely fought encounter
Shillong 1st February: A brilliant goal by World Cupper Cornell Glen was not enough for the Reds as East Bengal registered a 2-1 win at their home fortress on Sunday evening. Ranti Martins scored a brace for the Kolkata outfit, netting in the 29th and 70th minute respectively while Cornell Glen netted the solitary goal for Lajong in the 59th minute.
Lajong FC dominated possession and remained on the front foot in the opening half of the match. The first clear cut chance of the match also fell to the club from the North East. A free kick was awarded to Lajong and Boithang Haokip stepped up to take the shot from 30 yards out which went just inches wide.
In the 23rd minute, East Bengal got their first real chance on goal after a long ball from Khabra to Dudu was placed well to Ranti Martins but the Nigerian striker did not time his shot well and it went wide.
East Bengal however managed to break Lajong’s defense in the 29th minute. Ranti Martins delivered the goal as he made no mistakes in heading the ball into the back of the net. Thereafter, Lajong began to stamp their authority on the game and gradually began to find their feet.
A long ball by Robin Gurung found Cornell Glen but the Trinidad & Tobago international was surrounded by East Bengal defenders as they blocked Lajong’s attempt to draw level. Thangboi Singto’s troops fashioned their best opportunities as the game approached half time but unfortunately as luck would have it, the boys could not apply their final finishing touches.
In the 49th minute of the second session, Lajong won a corner and Uilliams’ corner kick found Ranti Martins who almost headed the ball into his own net. Lajong undoubtedly started the session as the stronger side and were awarded a free-kick in the 52nd minute of the match. Uilliams unleashed a brilliant kick but failed to find the equaliser.
Lajong were finally rewarded with the equaliser in the 59th minute when Uilliams made a cross into the box from the left towards Glen who was at the edge of the box and chested the ball before making a bicycle kick into the back of the net.
The goal lit up the Reds as they had another chance in the 63rd minute when Cornell Glens shot went just wide denying the visitors the lead. Minutes later, Durga Boro almost pulled off a beauty as he took a shot after some great dribbling but the ball went narrowly wide off the far corner.
However, the home side regained the lead with a headed goal from Ranti Martins in the 70th minute. Lajong were more eager to secure a draw in the final quarter of the match but the East Bengal’s defense stood resilient.
East Bengal held off Lajong until the final whistle, earning them three points at home. Lajong were brave in their efforts but were unlucky to not go home with any points. The Reds will play their next away match on the 14th of February 2015 against Bengaluru FC.