IFA Shield: East Bengal beat Prayag United 2-0
East Bengal beat Prayag United in a crucial match in the 117th IFA Shield today at the Kanchenjunga Stadium at Siliguri. It was a good chance for Prayag United to take sweet revenge for their IFA Shield defeat last year when the Red & Gold Brigade beat the purple brigade 4-2 in the tie-breaker. But after this defeat, Prayag will have to win their next match against ONGC to reach the semi-final. On the other hand, East Bengal finish at the top of their group.
The first half ended goalless as both the teams tried to understand their opponent’s strategy. The first attack for Prayag United came in the 4th minute when Rafiq got the ball from captain Ranti Martins in the East Bengal penalty box, but East Bengal custodian Gurpreet collected it from Rafiq’s foot quite brilliantly. In the 19th minute, Chidi’s shot was saved by Sangram, who has been quite consistent under the bar for the Purple brigade this season.
Chidi was the man who broke the shackles in the 51st minute when he scored from a well-timed cross from Sanju Pradhan. After taking the lead, East Bengal attacked more and more. But the introduction of Lalkamal Bhowmik in the Prayag team boosted their attack and after that Prayag tried to equalize. In the 66th minute, Rafiq got a golden opportunity to equalize for his team, but Gurpreet saved it well. Chidi doubled the scoreline for East Bengal in the 75th minute when he picked up Chinta’s careless back pass towards the keeper and did not make any mistakes in converting it into a goal.
East Bengal’s British coach Trevor James Morgan will be very much pleased with his team’s performance in this match. But it seems like it is going to be an uphill task for Prayag United, as they will have to win against ONGC if they want to cement their place in the last four.
Final score: East Bengal 2 – Prayag United 0
East Bengal: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Naoba Singh, Gurwinder Singh, Uga Okpara, Robert Lalthalma, Sanju Pradhan (Ishfaq Ahmed 72’), Subodh Kumar, Penn Orji, Harmanjot Khabra, Baljit Sahni (Manandeep Singh 71’), Edeh Chidi (Andrew Barisic 80’).
Prayag United: Sangram Mukherjee, Chinta Chandrashekar Rao, Bello Razaq, Dhanachandra Singh, Deepak Mondal, Tapan Maity, James Lukram Singh (Shankar Oraon 70’), Mohammed Rafiq, Ravinder Singh (Lal Kamal Bhowmick 56’), Carlos Hernandez (Kayne Vincent 81’), Ranti Martins.