Justice Morgan scored the winner for his team in second half injury-time.

George Telegraph left it late to win a close encounter against the mighty East Bengal in the Red and Gold’s opening fixture in the Calcutta Football League. It was the last gasp goal from Justice Morgan who punished the East Bengal defence late in injury time.

Here are the talking points from the match:

5. Unavailability of crucial foreigners a big factor for East Bengal?

The Red and Golds direly missed Jaime Santos Colado in the attack. Colado has scored three goals in two Durand games and have bailed out his time and again even in last season. However, his injury in the match against Jamshedpur FC saw him miss the first Calcutta Football League match against George Telegraph.

Other foreigners were also not available as the East Bengal management failed to register Kassim Aidara and Borja Gomez Perez before the IFA deadline day. They will be available from the next game but Alejandro was not pleased with the unavailability as he was forced to field only Marti Crespi in defence.

4. Were George Telegraph too pragmatic in their approach?

George Telegraph are coming to this game on the back of two wins in the CFL. But Ranjan Bhattacharya’s men were short in confidence and despite fielding Justice Morgan and Joel Sunday in attack they hardly created any clear cut chances for most of the game. Luckily Justice Morgan caught the East Bengal defence off-guard and his snapshot from distance handed the away side with a late goal and all three points.

George Telegraph should have gone all guns blazing from the start as East Bengal lacked the foreigners and fielded a very inexperienced side. Anyways Bhattacharya’s men ultimately got the goal which they deserved late in the game.

3. Did East Bengal miss their midfield general Lalrindika Ralte?

The young Red and Gold brigade failed to break the deadlock against the experience defenders of George Telegraph. Alejandro’s men failed to create the chances that were expected of them. Also, the team lacked a proper playmaker in the form of Lalrindika Ralte. The 26-year-old playmaker was rested for this match and East Bengal paid the price in the end.

The Red and Golds lacked a player who can hold the ball in midfield and feed it to the onrushing forwards. Ralte’s ability to open opposition defence with his exceptional game reading and passing ability was evidently missed.

2. Has the difference between the top three Kolkata sides and others decreased considerably this season?

All three Kolkata giants have failed to start their CFL campaign with a win. Mohun Bagan were humiliated by Peerless at home, while Mohammedan Sporting came back from a goal down to end the match against Aryan 1-1. The Red and Golds also suffered a 0-1 defeat against George Telegraph, as Justice Morgan scored right at the dying minutes of the match.

The gap in quality has narrowed from last season and this season it is move evident. Peerless who ended runners up ahead of East Bengal and Mohammedan Sporting proved that hard work and believe can take these teams a long way in the CFL. Currently, George Telegraph have won their three matches in the CFL and are top of the table, with Bhawanipore FC in second with two wins and draw. Teams like Peerless, Southern Samity, Aryan are also gathering momentum in the league and can cause problems for any of the top sides.

1. Can Rakshit Dagar challenge Lalthummawia Ralte for the #1 custodian spot at the club?

Rakshit Dagar was one of the better performers against George Telegraph. The former Minerva Punjab custodian was stellar between the sticks and kept the George Telegraph forward at bay with his daunting presence in the box.

He made some crucial saves and marshalled the backline pretty well throughout the game. Hence it will be a challenge for Lalthuammawia Ralte who joined the Red and Golds from FC Goa and have emerged as the no.1 custodian this season. But if Rakshit Dagar can improve his distribution and concentration lapses, he can prove to be a tough contender for Ralte.