CFL opener between East Bengal and Tollygunge Agragami abandoned due to rain-damaged pitch
Written by: Uttiyo Sarkar
The two teams had scored one each in an evenly-contested first half before the pitch was deemed unplayable.
The Calcutta Football League got off to a dramatic start at the East Bengal Ground earlier today, with the opening match between East Bengal and Tollygunge Agragami being called off after only a half of football. Both teams played out an exciting 1-1 draw in the first half, which was plagued with relentless rain that worsed the playing field’s condition, it was decided by the officials that the pitch wasn’t playable at all.
Therefore, the match has been postponed to a later date and fans were left frustrated after having to go back following just 45 minutes of football.
East Bengal gave debuts to new signings Kassim Aidara, Kamalpreet Singh and Bali Gagandeep, who got their first taste of Kolkata football in the opener against Tollygunge. The defending champions got off to a blazing start, taking the lead in the 2nd minute. A dangerous free-kick from Lalrindika Ralte was met by the head of Aidara, who guided the ball into the back of the net, thus scoring the first goal of the new campaign.
The Red and Gold looked pumped up and were attacking on all fronts, with midfielder Lalrindika Ralte looking the most dangerous. They created another opportunity in the 13th minute, when a corner got cleared to Ralte, whose shot went just wide of the mark. The hosts looked terrorizing with set-pieces and again in the 20th minute, a corner met the head of Laldanmawia Ralte, but went screeching past the side-netting. Danmawia looked dangerous as ever and got another shot on goal in the 26th minute, which was decently collected by Subham Roy.
Despite not having a single sniff at goal in the early minutes, Tollygunge stunned East Bengal with a penetrating move through the middle on the half hour mark. Lago Bei beat the offside trap before hitting a superb, low shot which went past his former Minerva Punjab teammate Rakshit Dagar and equalized things on the day.
East Bengal went looking for a goal to regain their lead, but the difficult conditions didn’t make it any easier for them. They capitalized on an error from Tollygunge in the 43rd minute, but Lalrindika couldn’t manage to divert it on goal. The Red and Gold got another chance during added time, but Lalrindika’s terrific attempt forced a superb acrobatic save from Roy to end the half.
But, the game was shockingly called off before the second half could even begin, thanks to the terrible rain-soaked pitch conditions. The game-play became slow and filled with comical errors towards the end of the first half and it was looking likely that the match would be called off.
So, after the rain subsided, the referees came out onto the field for an inspection and after noticing that the ball wasn’t moving smoothly, they had a chat with both captain Lalram Chullova and Gouta Kujur. Following a long conversation, it was decided that the match would be called off and postponed to a later date, which is yet to be revealed.
Tollygunge Agragami Manaronjan Bhattacharya remained coy after the game and did not want to comment on why the game was called off. He stated that it was the referee's decision to call it off and that he couldn't comment on whether he believed his team are at a disadvantage following the postponement.
East Bengal head coach Bastob Roy spoke on the outcome and said, "It was a decision of the Match Commissioner to call off the game. We did not have any hand in influencing the result. The ball just wasn't rolling ON the pitch, which made the Match Commissioner postpone it to a later date."
Published: Fri Aug 03, 2018 06:50 PM IST