East Bengal’s bad form continued as they went down 1-0 to Royal Wahingdoh at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Shillong. Godwin Franco scored the all important goal for the home side in the 30th minute to secure three crucial points against a strong East Bengal outfit.
East Bengal had to win this game to remain in the hunt for the I-League title. Coach Eelco Schattorie made two changes in the starting lineup from the derby match. Sukhwinder Singh replaced Mehtab Hussian and Cavin Lobo replaced Mohammad Rafique.
Royal Wahingdoh looked confident from the very beginning and attacked with the same intensity as East Bengal. They had an early chance to score when Densill Theobald was brought down just outside the box. Lalmangaisangha curled a good shot but just went over the post.
The home side were looking more positive in their approach and in the 7th minute, young Jackichand Singh bulldozed past the East Bengal defenders and attempted a shot. Subhashish pulled off a good save and avoided the danger.
In the 12th minute, Kim Seung-Yong had a golden opportunity to score the opening goal. A long ball fell at South Korean attacker’s feet as the East Bengal defenders failed to judge the flight. Seung-Yong lobbed the ball over Subhashish, who came off his line. Unfortunately, the ball went over the bar. In the process, Subhashish hurt himself badly and had to be replaced immediately by Abhijeet Mondal.
East Bengal came back into game as they started dominating the proceedings and were attacking in numbers but failed to yield anything fruitful. Their long ball policy was yet again a big failure.
In the 30th minute, Godwin Franco scored from Jackichand Singh’s corner. Jackichand took a short corner which was met by Godwin at the edge of the box. After receiving the ball, he did not waste any time and blasted a shot which found the back of the net. Abhijeet had no chance of stopping the shot.
Royal Wahingdoh kept on pressing in the attacking third and the East Bengal defenders looked clueless. They were unable to stop Densill Theobald, Jackichand Singh and Godwin Franco. East Bengal’s game did not improve in the second half as well. They still persisted with the long ball game which yielded them nothing.
In the 58th minute, Ranti Martins came close to scoring the equaliser with a solo effort. He received a pass from Calvin Lobo at the edge of the box. Martins dribbled past one defender gracefully and attempted a curling shot at the far post. Wahingdoh custodian Prem Kumar Singh dived and pulled a fantastic save to deny the Nigerian his 13th goal of the season.
East Bengal attacked more in the second half, as Santosh Kashyap’s team concentrated on firm defending. They were successful in their tactics as the away side never imposed any serious threat on them. But they are slowly fading away from the title race after today’s defeat. Their defence looked vulnerable at times and the attack lacked any vigour.
Royal Wahingdoh, on the other hand, looked a much more confident side. They remain in the top half of the league table with today’s vital three points.Published 31 Mar 2015, 19:18 IST