The Mexican striker opened the scoring for the Red and Gold Brigade on Thursday evening.

Real Kashmir took on East Bengal at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Delhi on Thursday afternoon, in what was an eventful game to say the least. The match was postponed beforehand and then underwent a change in venue as it was shifted from Srinagar to Delhi. The fixture began with the Red and Gold Brigade taking a two-goal lead thanks to Enrique Esqueda and Jaime Santos Colado in the first half. Although, Abednego Tetteh scored from the spot for the Snow Leopards, it was not enough to save them from yet another defeat in the league this season.

Here are the talking points from the game:

5. Would a good striker have made the difference for Real Kashmir?

With all due respect to the likes of Tetteh and Gnohere Krizo, Real Kashmir desperately lack a proper goalscoring forward. That is evident from the fact that they have scored only 22 goals in 18 games this season. The Leopards have struggled to score and it was evident once again in the match, especially in the second half, when they came close to equalizing multiple times, but just could not finish off their chances.

A striker in the ilk of Jobby Justin or Pedro Manzi could have made a real difference for them, but that in no way makes Real Kashmir’s any less remarkable than they have been. On their way to finishing the campaign in third place ahead of former champions like Mohun Bagan, Aizawl FC and Minerva Punjab, it is a colossal achievement for the club.

4. Is East Bengal’s loss of intensity to be blamed for their capitulation?

Despite being heavily involved in the title race only a couple of weeks ago, East Bengal look like outsiders when it comes to lifting the coveted trophy now. In their previous games, they have lacked a certain intensity which has caused them to drop points and the same issue plagued them in this game as well.

The Red and Gold had a two-goal cushion and a man-advantage for most of the encounter, but they failed to capitalize on it. In fact, given the pressure that was put on them in the second half, they might consider themselves lucky to pocket all three points. East Bengal manager Alejandro Menendez will have to teach his squad game-management skills, if they are to have any hopes of impressing in the Super Cup.

3. Is personnel quality to be blamed for East Bengal’s performances?

When it comes to personnel, East Bengal goalkeeper Rakshit Dagar takes the mantle when it comes to making mistakes.  The former Minerva Punjab custodian has committed errors too often throughout the season and the same was on show against Real Kashmir. He gave away a cheap penalty that put his side under pressure and almost conceded by losing possession outside the box.

The same can be said of Lalrindika Ralte as well. Despite having eight assists this term, the East Bengal captain has flattered to deceive in the crunch games. He was mostly anonymous in the match as well, which goes to show that central midfield is an area that the Red and Gold need to upgrade upon.


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2. Could Enrique Esqueda’s injury have a hand in derailing East Bengal’s title challenge?

Eight goals and four assists for Esqueda in just 13 appearances has made him the crown jewel of the East Bengal attack this season. He was instrumental once again in the game, scoring one and setting up the second for Colado. The manner in which he drops deep and moves all over the pitch, makes him especially hard to mark, even for the miserly Kashmir defence which had conceded only 10 goals before this game.

There is little doubt that if he would have been fit throughout the critical months of November to January, the Red and Gold would surely have been in a much better position than they find themselves in currently.

1. Are Brandon Vanlalremdika and Laldanmawia Ralte worth of Indian National Team call-ups soon?

In a season of many positives for East Bengal, the rise of Brandon Vanlalremdika and Laldanmawia Ralte has to be on top. The dynamic duo has had a hand in most East Bengal goals this campaign, with the latter also having seven goals to his name. They were impressive against Real Kashmir as well, attacking in tandem alongside Colado and Esqueda and also defending with equal gusto.

They were overlooked by former Indian national team boss Stephen Constantine, but there is little doubt that they should be called up under whoever becomes the next head coach of the Blue Tigers.