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Talking Points: Will Juan Mera Gonzalez be East Bengal's primary creator this season?

Written by: Uttiyo Sarkar

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The Red and Gold defeated Kalighat Milan Sangha in a goalfeast on Thursday afternoon.

East Bengal got back to winning ways in the Calcutta Football League (CFL) with a dominant 4-2 win against Kalighat MS at the East Bengal Ground on Thursday.

A brace from Jaime Colado, along with strikes from Bidyashagar Singh and an own-goal from Karamoko Lassine gave the hosts a comfortable advantage. While Tuhin Sikdar and Rahul Paswan provided Kalighat some joy. Here are the talking points from the game:

5. Could Manoj Mohammed’s left-back spot be in jeopardy?

Manoj Mohammed was given the go ahead to take the fight to the lowly Kalighat, being given freedom to roam through the left wing. However, he was defensively harried by Bhawani Jaiswar. Often beaten by his pace, Mohammed didn’t have the easiest of times. Then disaster struck before half-time, when he allowed Kalighat’s goalscoring move take place through his side and ended up injuring himself.

It seemed like the youngster dislocated his shoulder, allowing Abhishek Ambekar to come in. As the former Mohun Bagan man is making the left-back position his own with strong, experienced defensive work, along with pacy overlapping runs, young Manoj could soon lose his spot in Alejandro Menendez’s side for good.

4. Will Juan Mera Gonzalez be East Bengal's primary creator this season?

It hasn’t been long since Juan Mere Gonzalez arrived in Kolkata to play for East Bengal, but he’s already winning over fans with his fantastic technical ability in the final third. The left winger looks a step ahead of his peers when it comes to creating opportunities, with his silky, inviting crosses almost always finding the target inside the box. The Spaniard’s fantastic set-piece ability takes some pressure of Lalrindika Ralte’s shoulders, as Gonzalez’s impressive technique is bound to be a hit with East Bengal’s opportunistic players.

It was his corner which caused chaos in Kalighat’s area, allowing Bidyashagar to score, but he also created numerous other opportunities with moments of magic. He later created the third goal with an exquisite chip to send Bidyashagar through. If the winger retains his magic in the I-League, the Red and Gold fans will be very happy.

3. Is Asheer Akhtar East Bengal’s best domestic signing this summer?



Of all the new players who have graced the East Bengal shirt this season, Asheer Akhtar has been impressing as the silent guardian in defence. The signing from Bengaluru FC 'B' has adapted to Menendez’s system seamlessly, with his clever distribution helping the team's style. Then again, its his impressive defending which has been a standout so far. Even against Kaligaht, Akhtar remained authoritative in his own half, having formed a strong partnership with Marti Crespi.

He made some crucial challenges to clear danger, while his tackling as well as aerial work was on point. Akhtar’s strong work obviously riled up Kalighat striker Alexander Kouassi, who ended up getting sent off for a frustrated challenge on him. As the youngsters keeps churning out impeccable defensive performances, he’s turning out to be their best catch of the domestic buys this season.

2. Are Kalighat MS bound for relegation from the CFL this season?

Kalighat MS were sitting in 11th position coming into this game, but weren’t helped by this disappointing loss. While they did start well in difficult conditions, even getting a shock lead through Tuhin Sikdar’s majestic curler, they just fell apart when the pressure arrived. Kalighat’s defensive work was all over the place, allowing the hosts to get into promising space and cause them all sorts of problems.

They created their own misery with the first two East Bengal goals, one which resulted from frantic set-piece defending and the second being put into his own net by Lassine. After that, some poorer defensive organization and inability to make clearances allowed East Bengal to put the lethal final touches towards the end.

1. Is Bidyasagar Singh benefitting the most from East Bengal’s Spanish contingent?

There were many questions raised about the Red and Gold's team-building when both Enrique Esqueda and Jobby Justin were allowed to leave without appropriate replacements. Marcos de la Espada is yet to properly synergize into the surroundings, but the striker benefitting the most from East Bengal’s Spanish style is Bidyashagar Singh.

After a fantastic Durand Cup outing, the youngster has brought his goalscoring heroics to the CFL. He clinically scored his side’s equalizer before half-time, before setting up Colado’s goal in the second half.

Moreover, his fiery movement and tendency to find himself in goalscoring positions makes him a natural successor to Justin. Singh is getting more space to move into in Menendez’s system, while his link-up play already looks superb. This could be his breakthrough season for East Bengal and going by the rate he’s scoring goals, he should take the I-League by storm.

Published: Fri Sep 13, 2019 03:32 PM IST

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