The Red and Gold Brigade went back to the top of the table once again.
East Bengal scraped a 1-0 victory in their Calcutta Football League match played against Rainbow AC at the East Bengal Ground on Sunday. A first half penalty from Lalramchullova was enough for the hosts to secure a win over the resurgent Rainbow and take them back to the top of the table.
East Bengal had the opportunity to go back to the top of the table with a win and they made one change, with Surabuddin Mollick coming in for Laldanmawia Ralte. Just like their last few matches, the Red and Gold started the game with much vigour, as Surabuddin’s attempt to cross in the sixth minute was deflected onto the post, but luckily for Rainbow, did not go in. Rainbow had created problems for Mohun Bagan in their earlier fixture against them and were being quite stubborn defensively in the early minutes in this one as well.
The Red and Gold created a big chance in the 20th minute when Kamalpreet Singh’s accurate cross found Joby Justin free inside the box, but the striker’s header went shockingly wide of the target. However, the hosts received a penalty five minutes later, when Mollick was brought down inside the box by Sourav Roy. Lalramchullova stepped up to take the spot-kick and duly converted, as his shot was too powerful for Dibyendu Sarkar.
Mollick looked electrifying on the right wing and created another chance in the 29th minute, breezing past a Rainbow defender and sending a dangerous cross which was well collected by Sarkar. The Red and Gold were a bit sloppy after the half hour mark and were being too dependent on Mollick on the right flank.
The New Barrackpore-based club finally broke East Bengal’s defensive resolve in the 45th minute, when Joel Sunday found some space on the right flank, but his poor pass was not intercepted well by Sujay Dutta and went straying wide.
East Bengal started the second half on the attack and threatened through the wings again. The hosts received a corner in the 50th minute and Amnah’s delivery found Justin whose header sailed over the bar. Rainbow started threatening on the attack and two minutes later created a great chance, when Sujoy Dutta’s thunderous shot forced an excellent save from Rakshit Dagar.
The East Bengal keeper was tested once again in the 54th minute when he scuffled a chance to collect the ball. Rainbow had a penalty shout denied when Sunday was seemingly brought down by Mehtab Singh after trying to capitalize on that mistake, something which infuriated the visitors. The hosts scampered another glorious chance to add another in the 61st minute when Justin missed a point-blank header from Amna‘s corner.
Dagar was almost embarrassed in the 63rd minute when defender Sujit Sadhu’s shot from half-line crept over him to the top of the goal. Rainbow looked seriously dangerous on the attack and created another impressive chance three minutes later, but Dutta’s powerful shot could only hit the side netting.
Rainbow looked hell-bent on breaking Bengal’s defensive resolve and received two golden chances in the 75th-minute mark. The first one came when Sunday got some space on the left and let rip a powerful shot which blazed just over Dagar’s goal. They created another one seconds later when Sunday teed up Abhijit Sarkar outside the box and the Rainbow captain hit a bolting effort which went well wide of the target.
The hosts had the chance to put the game to bed in the 83rd minute when a fantastic ball found Mollick free on the right wing, but Justin couldn’t tap in the wingers’ low cross. Rainbow tried everything to get an equalizer, including playing Eric Dano as a striker late on but just couldn’t score.
The hosts were almost stunned in the dying moments when substitute Paltu Das was free inside the box, but his horrible shot blazed over the post. That last scare proved how lady luck was with me hosts on the day and the narrow win was enough to take East Bengal to the top of the table on superior goal difference.