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I-League 2018-19: "The championship will be very difficult now" says East Bengal coach Alejandro Menendez after Aizawl match

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Modified 20 Dec 2019, 21:45 IST

Jobby Justin in action along with two Aizawl players on Monday evening
Jobby Justin in action along with two Aizawl players on Monday evening

East Bengal lost two vital points against Aizawl FC on Monday evening at the Salt Lake Stadium, hurting their title aspirations to a large extent. Leonce Dodoz’s clinical finish in the 23rd minute put the visitors ahead. After working hard for more than an hour, East Bengal balanced the scoreline with 25 minutes still left to play, they came close on certain occasions, but could not convert.

Spanish coach Alejandro Menendez admitted that the championship race has become very difficult for them just now.

“The championship will be very difficult now. We have few possibilities but the chances for Chennai City are easy after today’s draw,” said Alejandro at the post-match press conference.

Chennai City FC just needs a win to clinch its maiden I-League title, while a in each of the remaining matches will also be enough.

East Bengal had a numerical superiority in the last twenty minutes after Aizawl FC was reduced to 10 men, following a heated exchange between the players. They went all out in attack, played good football, but gained only a single point. Jobby Justin’s header hit the post while Lalrindika Ralte’s shot also missed the target, which summed up the day for the hosts.

Speaking on how his team played on Monday evening, Menendez said, “Nothing went wrong today. The only wrong was that we didn’t score. In football, you need to score, doesn’t matter how many chances you get.”

The ‘red and gold’ brigade are still placed at the second position with a superior goal difference, but they are well behind league leaders Chennai City FC.

Having played 17 matches, East Bengal has accumulated 33 points, same as Real Kashmir FC. Both the teams will face in Delhi after the match was shifted from Srinagar due to the Pulwama attacks. A stalemate in the fixture will confirm Chennai City FC’s title win. On the other hand, a win by either side will keep them on the hunt, while the other will fall behind. 

Published 26 Feb 2019, 11:11 IST
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