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"It would've been a red card anywhere else" - East Bengal head coach Stephen Constantine on FC Goa keeper Dheeraj Singh's foul

This is East Bengal
East Bengal have now lost their first two ISL 2022-23 matches. (Image Courtesy: East Bengal Media)

East Bengal (EB) stumbled yet again in the Indian Super League (ISL) 2022-23 as they suffered their second consecutive defeat. FC Goa nudged in a 94th-minute winner to sink the Red and Gold Brigade.

However, after the game, EB head coach Stephen Constantine raised questions about the referee's decision not to send off Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem. The goalkeeper brought down VP Suhair inside his own box and the hosts were awarded a penalty, which they converted in the second half.

The former Indian head coach, in response to a Sportskeeda query, responded:

"I don't know how their goalkeeper was still on the pitch after he completely went through the player. It would've been a red card anywhere else I know. That could've been a big advantage for us in the game.
"Over the course of the season you like to think the decisions even out but we've had two games and I don't think we got anywhere near as many decisions as we should've got."

The match was seemingly destined for a draw but the Gaurs won a free-kick in the dying minutes of the game. Edu Bedia, with literally the last kick of the ball, whipped a curling ball into the EB box, which evaded players from both teams and ended up in the back of the net.

Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan was in absolute silence as the East Bengal heads dropped down.

Speaking about how the game turned out for the home side, Constantine averred:

"I think in the first half, FC Goa were the better side. They had more of the ball and we looked very nervous again. But in the second half, we completely dominated the game.
"Obviously to concede the goal and the way we did it is very disappointing, but on the plus side, in the second half, we saw little glimpse of the side we're going to look like going forward. But today we didn't get 90 minutes of it, just 45. And it wasn't enough."

"It's very difficult to control a game throughout 90 minutes" - Carlos Pena on FC Goa losing momentum against East Bengal

While FC Goa were all over the Torchbearers in the first half, East Bengal turned on the switch in the second 45 and were the side enjoying some much-needed momentum.

Cleiton Silva scored from the spot in the 64th minute and soon after, EB looked like the side in control. But with a bit of luck and a lot of artistry from Edu, the Gaurs sealed the victory in the end.

It was FC Goa's first ISL victory in Kolkata and also Carlos Pena's maiden win in the tournament as head coach. Expressing his thoughts about the game, the Spanish gaffer stated:

"In the first half, we started with great personality and tried to control the game and tried to create chances. We tried to play in their half as that way wouldn't concede a lot of chances. Because we are aware of East Bengal's strengths in transitions.
"In the second half, they brought in more dynamic players and we started to suffer a little bit. In the end, we could score the last goal and get the three points."

Pena added:

"It's very difficult to control a game throughout 90 minutes. Sometimes you have to suffer. But it's about character, it's about defending when your team is not in control, and wait for our chance. In the last minutes we were better and we got the win."

While East Bengal will next face NorthEast United on October 20, FC Goa will lock horns with Chennaiyin FC the following day.

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Edited by Samya Majumdar
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