I-League 2017/18, Match 57: East Bengal vs Minerva Punjab FC - 5 Talking Points
Match 57 of I-League saw East Bengal face off against league leaders Minerva Punjab FC at the Barasat District Sports Stadium in Kolkata.
The two sides were involved in a top of the table clash with the league's top side and third-placed team facing each other for the first time this season. Minerva Punjab FC were comfortably placed on the top of the standings with 25 points from their ten matches before this game while East Bengal were on their heels in the title race on the third spot with 19 points from eleven matches.
East Bengal came into the match on the back of three-match winless streak which included the Kolkata derby loss along with two draws away from home. Minerva Punjab FC, on the other hand, were on a four-match winning streak away from home that helped them add steam to their challenge for the I-League title.
The match was an intensely fought affair and ended in a 2-2 draw as East Bengal came back from 0-2 down to go level at the end. Two goals in the first half from Sukhdev Singh and Chencho Gyeltshen had put the visitors ahead. East Bengal rallied in the second half and got level with goals from Joby Justin and Brandon Vanlalredmika.
#1 Khalid Jamil makes seven changes to the starting lineup
Khalid Jamil's side was winless in their last three games, their last win coming against the young Indian Arrows at the start of the year. The Kolkata side lost the prestigious Kolkata Derby in their last match and had two draws away from home before that against Churchill Brothers and champions Aizawl FC.
In a shakeup of things, Jamil made a major overhaul to the starting lineup for the Red and Golds as he made a total of seven changes.
Luis Barreto, Lalramchullova, Arnab Mondal, Mohamed Rafique, Mahmoud Al Amna, Prakash Sarkar and the current Mohammedan SC player Willis Plaza were kept out by the gaffer. Ubaid CK, Mehtab Singh, Deepak Kumar, Cavin Lobo, Bazie Armand, Laldanmawia Ralte and Joby Justin were introduced in their place as a new-look East Bengal took to the field.
Amna had to miss out due to an injury suffered early on in the derby. East Bengal also had former Bagan striker Ansumana Kromah available on the bench after undergoing a successful trial and signing for the city rivals.