I-League 2018-19: 3 reasons why East Bengal lost to Minerva Punjab
East Bengal’s dream to win the elusive I-League dealt with a major blow after their third loss on the trot this season.
Defending champions Minerva Punjab FC got away with a 1-0 win to pile mile more misery on the Red and Golds at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata on Tuesday.
William Opoku scored the only goal of the match in the 77th minute after a defensive blunder from East Bengal.
Minerva climbed four places to move to the second position of the league table with 11 points from six matches.
East Bengal, after enduring a ‘hat-trick’ of losses, will now ponder over how to get back to winning ways before they face Gokulam Kerala FC at home in their next match. The Red and Golds remained stranded at six points from five matches.
The home side started the match on an attacking note, creating a web around the field with passing football.
Jobby Justin was wrongly adjudged off-side in the second half and Esqueda’s stunning shot was saved the Minerva goalie Arshdeep Singh.
They continued to dominate the game but lost the plot after the lemon-break as Minerva came back with counter attacks. Ultimately Opoku’s goal proved to be the difference between the two sides.
Let us look at the three reasons behind East Bengal’s loss to Minerva:
#3 Strikers’ inability to count their opportunities
After four matches, East Bengal finally played passing football and had fair share of possession in the first half.
The created so many opportunities during that time but there was no real movement in the first half an hour. Both Jobby Justin and Enrique Esqueda were tightly marked at the upfront by Minerva defenders.
In this kind of situation, generally, the attacking midfielder takes the goal-scoring responsibility.
But both Brandon Vanlalremdika and Yami Longvah were wasteful. Longvah even had an open goal in the second half but his shot went wide. Brandon was slightly better as left-winger but he too was trapped by Minerva’s web.
Kassim Aidara was playing as a defensive blocker and didn’t contribute too much in the upfront.
So there was no real link between the strikers and them midfielder which East Bengal could on.
Mahmoud Al-Amna was an ideal man but his injury proves too heavy for the Red and Golds. It remains to be seen If Jaime Colado can provide the attacking solidity.