Bengaluru FC suffered a fourth consecutive defeat in the 2020-21 ISL when they went down by a solitary goal against SC East Bengal in the 52nd match of the competition at the Fatorda Stadium in Margao, Goa.
Matti Steinmann’s goal in the 20th minute of the game proved to be enough as SC East Bengal’s defence stayed resolute for the entire night.
Interim Bengaluru FC coach Naushad Moosa sprung a surprise by starting young full-backs Parag Srivas and Ajith Kumar, but the defence looked shaky from the off.
SC East Bengal created a lot of chances courtesy the trio of Bright Enobakhare, Jacques Maghoma and Matti Steinmann.
To begin with, Narayan Das was allowed to run into space by Enobakhare, and the left-back sent in a decent shot. Even though Gurpreet Singh Sandhu saved it comfortably, the warning signs were clear.
The pressure intensified, as left-back Ajith Kumar was booked for a challenge on Enobakhare. Just a few seconds later, he failed to clear the ball, allowing Ankit Mukherjee to cross to Narayan Das on the opposite flank.
Narayan sent in a testing low cross that was flicked inside the far post by a nifty Matti Steinmann for SC East Bengal's only goal of the game. After getting the lead in just the 20th minute, SC East Bengal began to dominate the under-fire Bengaluru FC. Post the cooling break, the Blues got a few set-pieces, but they couldn’t muster much out of those opportunities.
In the second half, substitute Kristian Opseth did well to combine with Sunil Chhetri before the Bengaluru FC skipper forced a saved out of Debjit Majumder. The momentum was on Bengaluru FC’s side, but Dimas Delgado couldn’t direct his header on target after Rahul Bheke delivered a cross.
SC East Bengal goalkeeper Debjit Majumder came to the rescue once again, as he dived low to his right to save a fabulous shot from Sunil Chhetri.
However, Bengaluru FC lost the period of ascendancy after Rahul Bheke was shifted to left-back after a couple of substitutions. Congolese midfielder Jacques Maghoma threatened to double SC East Bengal's lead, but Cleiton Silva took the ball away from him. The ball fell to Harmanpreet Singh, but the young forward blasted it well over the target.
SC East Bengal became even more dangerous, as Namgyal Bhutia gave the ball away to Bright Enobakhare who tried to fire the ball inside the far post, but Gurpreet Singh Sandhu dived full stretch to pull the Blues out of trouble.
Just a couple of minutes later, Enobakhare made a mazy run into the box, but Gurpreet Singh Sandhu came out of his line to put off the opposition forward.
Bengaluru FC did push for an equaliser, but the SC East Bengal defence stood tall. 21-year-old Namgyal Bhutia reached the by-line and sent in a low cross, but Daniel Fox cleared it to safety.
Thereafter, there was a chaotic phase in the box, as a number of Bengaluru FC players tried to go for shots, but Jacques Maghoma stood firm, making crucial interceptions. These missed chances meant that SC East Bengal held onto their slender advantage to register only their second win of the season.
ISL 2020-21 - Bengaluru FC vs SC East Bengal: Who was the Hero of the Match?
East Bengal custodian Debjit Majumder was named the ‘Hero of the Match’ for his outstanding work between the posts. Although the Red and Gold Brigade dominated the majority of the match, there were phases of play when Bengaluru FC did look threatening.
Debjit Majumder has been on top of his game in the recent few matches, and it continued on Saturday too. He was called into action especially in the second half when Sunil Chhetri fired in a few threatening shots. Apart from the saves, the 32-year-old also organised his back-line very intelligently.Published 10 Jan 2021, 02:18 IST