I-League 2018-19: East Bengal vs Mohun Bagan – Hits and Flops of the match
The moment finally came for East Bengal fans and supporters all across the world. The long wait, 22 months to be precise, have ended on a sweet note. East Bengal defeated arch-rivals Mohun Bagan by 3-2 at the Salt Lake Stadium on Sunday.
It was, in fact, the first win for East Bengal at this very ground. Their last win came on September 4, 2015, when the red and gold won by an emphatic 4-0. Also, this was their first win after seven winless matches against their local neighbours.
This was also an acid test for East Bengal’s Spanish coach Alejandro Menendez, who was criticised for his team selection and strategy when his team lost three matches consecutively.
The win lifts East Bengal to the fifth place of the table with 12 points from seven matches. However, Mohun Bagan remains on eighth with nine points from seven matches.
There was no Sony Norde in Mohun Bagan’s line-up, but the advantage was with the green and maroon as most of their players had prior experience of playing this fixture. They deservedly took the lead when Azharuddin Mullick scored in the 12th minute utilising a brilliant move by Oman Elhusseiny.
East Bengal took six minutes to equalise when Laldanmawia scored from an unmarked position. The red and golds dominated the first half and got the lead just before the half-time whistle when Jobby Justin scored from a brilliant side volley.
In the second half, Eze Kinglsey was given marching orders for fouling Justin near the corner. From the resultant free-kick, Laldanmawia increased East Bengal’s lead.
Mohun Bagan, even after being down to 10-men, made a spirited fightback as Dipanda Dicka scored in the 75th minute. But East Bengal players kept their rhythm until the final moments.
#5 Hit: Jaime Santos (East Bengal)
As promised by the coach, new recruit of East Bengal club Jaime Santos Colado was included in the starting line-up. The young Spaniard made the occasion memorable with his impressive performance. Though he was a bit quiet in the second half, that doesn’t take away all the work he did in the first half.
From the first minute, Santos’ presence was visible inside the green and maroon box. He started making some wonderful plays using his excellent skills. His passes were eye-catching which left Mohun Bagan defenders on toes.
Santos operated from both the wings flexibly with his brilliant speed. He made swift and defence-splitting passes which were more dangerous for Mohun Bagan defenders and on some occasions, it could have ended as a goal.
It was his first half display that kept Mohun Bagan's defence on tenterhooks. Maybe because he was playing after one month, he was a bit sloppy in the second half.