I-League 2018-19, Neroca FC 0-2 East Bengal: 5 talking points
East Bengal got the perfect start of their I-League campaign with a 2-0 win over Neroca FC at the Khuman Lampak Stadium in Imphal on Saturday.
Spanish striker Enrique Esqueda scored both the goals, one in each half, to make his debut in a fashionable manner. Neroca FC, a relatively younger side, got their chances but couldn’t capitalise any of them.
This is East Bengal’s first win against Neroca FC, having drawn both their matches last season. Also, coach Alejandro Menendez marked his debut in India with a win.
The north-eastern clubs are always a thorn in the flesh for the red-and-gold. In the past seasons, they have either lost or held by their opponent in this part of the country. However, the times are changing and East Bengal are no more minnows in the north-eastern region.
East Bengal got the quick lead in the 10th minute. Aryn Williams tried to head back but the ball fell to Esqueda, who chested it down and unleashed a powerful shot on the top right corner.
The Kolkata club got their second when Denechandram brought down Laldanmawia inside the box. Referee Raktim Saha wasted no time in awarding East Bengal the penalty. Though Neroca FC custodian dived on the right side, he couldn’t stop the powerful shot from Esqueda.
Let us look at the major points of the game:
#5 East Bengal’s defence gets passmark
In the Calcutta Football League, East Bengal’s defending abilities came under serious question. They have conceded more than one goals in their last three matches.
World Cupper Johnny Acosta, who made his debut against Mohun Bagan in the CFL, couldn’t provide the much-needed solidity. East Bengal conceded cheaply against their opponents and criticisms followed.
Back in the I-League, we’ve seen a different team altogether. The red and gold management roped in Spanish defender Borja Gomez. Acosta was already there and the two have built up a beautiful understanding between them.
On a day, when Neroca FC attacked furiously, Acosta and Gomez didn’t let their team down and thwarted everything that came in their way. Borja is tall so he can dwell on aerial ball, while Acosta uses his physique to keep away defenders.