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I-League 2017-18: Indian Arrows vs East Bengal, Talking Points

East Bengal registered a 2-0 win over the young team.

The young Indian Arrows side hosted league leaders East Bengal on a cool Tuesday afternoon at the Dr. Ambedkar Stadium in New Delhi.

In what was the first I-League match of 2018, East Bengal registered a 2-0 win over the Arrows. Mahmoud Al Amna put the Red and Golds in the lead through a freekick early in the first half. Then, three minutes later, Katsumi Yusa doubled the lead with a cheeky finish.

However, in contrary to what the scoreline might suggest, it was not a very comfortable victory for East Bengal as the Indian youngsters stepped up their game in the second half and pressurized the away team. In the end, though, the visitors managed to cater home three points.

Here are the talking points from the match:

#5 Arrows miss Dheeraj Singh in goal

Dheeraj's absence was clear.
Dheeraj's absence was clear.

Indian Arrows head coach Luis Norton de Matos was clearly frustrated at losing a key player like Dheeraj Singh midway through the I-League. The 17-year-old goalkeeper had left the Arrows ahead of their encounter against a mighty East Bengal to pursue his career in Europe.

Dheeraj had followed up his superb performances at the U-17 World Cup with some impressive showings in the I-League. His decision to leave the club had left De Matos disappointed and unimpressed and in his absence, Punjab-born Prabhsukan Gill was named in goal.

While Gill grew into the game and made a couple of decent stops in the second half, Dheeraj was clearly missed when Al Amna scored the opener in the 13th minute and during the several other nervous moments in the first half.

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