The Red and Gold forwards had an off-day against the minnows in the state top flight.
The clash between the reigning champions, East Bengal and Calcutta Customs ended in a goalless draw. The Red and golds could have convincingly won the match but their players were wasteful in front of goal.
Customs who have already registered a draw in their first match against Aryans were up for a tough task against the Red and Golds.
The match started very timidly as both sides lacked the the cutting edge going forward. But East Bengal were the more postive side of the two as they started putting pressure on the Customs defence. The Red Golds had a great chance to go ahead as early as in the 6th minute when Lalrindika shoved defender Samuel Kane unappropriately and calmly slotted the ball past the goalkeeper. The goal was cancelled as it was resulted in a foul.
East Bengal started putting more pressure in search of a goal as in the 13th minute skipper Samad’s cross found Lalrindika unmarked in the box but the midfielder failed to make a strong connection with his being just metres away from goal.
The Red and Golds were threatning from the left flank as Chullova and Laldanmawia paired up causing all sorts of trouble for the Customs defence. Chullova’s corner in the 18th minute could have been dangerous for the away side but goalkeeper Suvam Sen came out of his line gallantly to parry it away from the danger and got fouled in the process.
Customs hardly made any positive move in the first quarter. The away side came into the mix after the half hour mark when Stanley started to orchestrate things for Customs. Minutes later Stanley’s curling shot from distance forced an excellent save from East Bengal custodian Rakshit Dagar.
But the deadlock was not broken as both goalkeepers were brilliant whenever needed. Chullova’s throw from the left flank was laid for Lalrindika Ralte as the midfielder came agonising close but his shot was parried away by Customs’ goalie Suvam Sen.
East Bengal enjoyed a strong period of dominance at the end of the first half as Samad again found a forward moving Laldanmawia on the right flank. The former Aizawl winger had a great opportunity to put his side ahead but he could only manage to hit the side netting. A pretty timid first half came to end with both sides failing to break the deadlock.
East Bengal started the second half right from where they left it in the first half and the introduction of Mahmoud Al Amnah also introduced East Bengal to a lot of chances. The Syrian midfielder was posing a lot of threat for the Customs side. His defence splitting passes was opening up the otherwise resolute defence of the away side.
As the game went on East Bengal were clearly the better side but the Red Gold were awful in the final third as Lalrindika Ralte’s corner found Chullova but the former Aizawl defender’s header went wide over. Customs rare attack came from foreigner John Ampong, who long range effort almost caught Rakshit dagar off guard, but the East Bengal custodian some how managed to parry it away from danger.
The Red and Golds kept their dominance throughout the second half as Samad ali Mallick kept on unleashing crosses from the flanks but the legacy club failed each time to convert their chances from close range. Lalrindika’s brilliant ball from midfield in search of Brandon who made a surging run from the left flank but failed to reach in time.
As the match came close to the final whistle it was East Bengal who were looking eager for a winner and in the process former Minerva forward Bali Gagandeep was in pole position to score in front of an empty net but the Punjabi forward’s night went from bad to worse when his tame effort was cleared off the line by an opponent defender.
The forwards had a a disappointing day in front of goal as Lalrindika Ralte came agonisingly close in the added time when his header from point blanc range went over the bar. The match ended in a stalemate and Customs’ golakeeper Suvam Sen received the man of the match award for his heroics which earned Customs a very crucial point.