I-League 2017: East Bengal pump 5 past Shillong Lajong, register their first win of the season
Under an unexpected downpour at the Vidyasagar Krirangan Barasat due to low pressure in the Ganges, East Bengal FC registered their first win against undefeated Shillong Lajong FC. Complementing the weather, the Red and Gold giants produced a goal deluge, scored 5 past Shillong Lajong FC.
The starting XI of East Bengal FC had five changes from the derby. In goal the experienced Luis Barreto was replaced by young Mirshad, Salaam Ranjan Singh U22 was slotted in at left-back position for Deepak Kumar, Prakash Sarkar was slotted in right back position, while Cavin Lobo made a comeback in midfield replacing Brandon. The biggest change, however, was that of Arnab Mondal replacing Gurwinder Singh to pair up with Eduardo in the heart of the East Bengal FC defence.
The match with overcast conditions, East Bengal FC started the match firing all cylinders. It could have been early in the 10th minute when a superb ball played by the East Bengal custodian found Al-Amna in space who then laid it for Plaza, but the striker missed the chance.
Shillong Lajong's resistance finally came down at the very early 14th minute of the game. Al-Amna picked up a loose ball and dribbled past Lawrence Doe & Rakesh Pradhan before scoring with a shot that went past Lachenpa deflected off Rakesh Pradhan making it 1-0 for the hosts.
Yet to recover from this goal, the visitors went 2-0 down in 19th minute when Brazilian Eduardo headed it home from a Katsumi Yusa corner. During this spell of the game, the Red and Gold brigade were consistently attacking the Lajong FC goal.
The visitors looked clueless. An error of judgment by Eduardo allowed Hardy Cliff to take possession who tried to cross it to Deory from the right but Arnab Mondal intercepted it at a vital position to avert the danger.
There was no respite for the visitors in the second half as Al-Amna threaded a sublime through pass for Ralte to make it 3-0 for the hosts in the 52nd minute. After conceding the goal the floodgates opened up for the East Bengal as Ralte scored his brace in the 65th minute and Katsumi Yusa added more misery by scoring from the spot in the 79th minute making it 5-0 for the hosts after Radeem Tlang brought down Ralte inside the box.
Shillong Lajong got one back in the dying minutes of the game when their skipper Samuel Lalmuanpuia placed a free kick, transforming the loud cheering spectators into silence.
This victory will silence many critics who questioned coach Khalid Jamil's managerial instincts and his ability to bear the weight of a giant club like East Bengal FC. This win takes East Bengal to the 3rd place in the I-league table. With 4 points from 3 games the Red and Gold brigade are just above their arch-rivals, having played one game extra.Published 10 Dec 2017, 11:34 IST