Prayag United stops East Bengal’s unbeaten run
KOLKATA: Prayag United SC continued to be the nemesis for East Bengal who faltered yet again against the lesser-known Kolkata opponent to suffer their first loss of the I-League. The 11th round match at Salt Lake Stadium on Sunday (December 16) saw a fine reversal of roles as Prayag United regained their winning form ending a run of three successive losses when Nigerian goal-machine Ranti Martins found the winner late in the second half.
East Bengal had lost to the same opponent by the same margin in the last season’s I-League meeting on 30th January this year.
Looking to extend the unbeaten run in the tournament after the violence-marred abandonment of their 10th round match against arch-rival Mohun Bagan just week ago, East Bengal could not put their plan to action as Prayag United put a more determined show.
The two teams played more intense football after a barren first half. But Prayag United seemed to enjoy the edge for having a better control on the midfield – which saw a nice combination between Costa Rican World Cupper Carlos Hernandes and Lalkamal Bhowmick.
Despite employing a lone man attack in Ranti Martins, Prayag United balanced their approach well and effectively locked up the East Bengal offensive for the greater part of the action. East Bengal, which had conceded just one goal in the previous 10 rounds where they remained unbeaten, gave up their undefeated status failing to utilise a few opportunities coming their way.
Prayag United SC 1 (Ranti Martins 75th minute)
East Bengal 0