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Durand Cup

East Bengal await first win under Stephen Constantine

Published at :August 26, 2022 at 3:09 AM
Modified at :December 13, 2023 at 1:01 PM
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(Courtesy : Durand Cup Media)

Sattyik Sarkar

Kamaljit Singh saved a penalty to deprive Rajasthan United of the win.

Rajasthan United FC (RUFC) were the happier of the two teams in a fast-paced goalless draw against local giants East Bengal (EB) in a 131st IndianOil Durand Cup Group B game at the Kishore Bharati Krirangan (KBK) here in the south of the city. EB had more chances in the game and also more possession, but RUFC missed a penalty in the second-half, as they came out with four points in two games, remaining unbeaten against both the local giants ATK Mohun Bagan and EB. They along with Mumbai City FC are the top two in the group currently and favourites to qualify.

EB coach Stephen Constantine made four changes to their starting line-up brining in Alex Lima, Tuhin Das, Jerry Lalrinzuala and Cypriot Charalambos Kyriacou in place of the injured Naorem Mahesh Singh, Mobashir Rahman, Pritam Singh and Wahengbam Angousana. RUFC gaffer Pushpender Kundu made just one change bringing in Brazilian forward Sergio Barboza Junior in place of Alister Anthony.

Profligate EB

East Bengal were in charge from the get go as Rajasthan United absorbed the pressure in front of a noisy 12,000 strong home crowd. Just after an injured Ankit Mukherjee was replaced by Md. Rakip, Aniket Jadhav, who had a super game down the EB right flank, drove into the box and cut back for Amarjit to pounce, but his punch grazed the cross-bar to go over the target.

A minute later, he found Suhair, who was wasteful on the day, but the RUFC keeper Niraj Kumar was up to the task.

Lalremsanga Fanai got RUFC’s first shot on target off a corner, but his acrobatic volley was straight at the keeper and Kamaljit in the EB goal collected comfortably.

In the second minute of injury-time in the first-half, Aniket produced another penetrating run inside the box finding Suhair again but the forward could not trap cleanly with just the keeper to beat in front of goal.

Double change for EB at the break

Stephen Constantine effected two changes at the break replacing Amarjit Kiyam with Souvik Chakrabarti and Spaniard Ivan Gonzalez with Kyriacou.

However, the golden chance to score came RUFC’s way in the 61st minute, when Lalremsanga was brought down inside the box by Souvik and referee Crystal John had no hesitation pointing to spot. The effort from Barboza Junior was weak though and Kamaljit saved easily.

The changes kept coming in from both camps thick and fast thereafter but none of the defensive citadels could be breached on the day with Melroy Assisi being awarded the Man of the Match for his robust work at the heart of the RUFC defence.

Tomorrow’s matches

Matchday 11 of the 131st IndianOil Durand Cup on Friday will see reigning Indian Super League champions Hyderabad FC take on Chennaiyin FC in a Group C encounter at the Khuman Lampak stadium in Imphal. That will be followed by FC Goa taking on Jamshedpur in a Group A game at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan (VYBK).

Next games of EB and RUFC

East Bengal take on arch-rivals ATK Mohun Bagan in the Kolkata derby on August 28, 2022 at the VYBK while Rajasthan United go up against Mumbai City FC a day later at the KBK.