East Bengal defeat Minerva in final home game of the season
Written by: Sourav Neogi
Wedson Anselme, Robin Singh and Bikash Jairu scored for the hosts while Krishna Pandit got on the scoresheet for the Punjab outfit...
Minerva started pressing the hosts in the first minute of the match. The visitors’ striker Manandeep Singh tried his luck with a long shot to the far left side of the East Bengal goal in the second minute, but the shot went wide.
Ivan Bukenya was seen playing an advanced role in the early minutes of the match, which led to a pass to East Bengal forward Abinash Ruidas. The East Bengal youngster took a thunderous strike at the Minerva goal, but Arshdeep Singh saved the day for the Blues.
East Bengal picked up an early card when full back Narayan Das committed a rash challenge on Victor Amobi in the 8th minute, bringing the Nigerian forward down in an instant.
This match saw a surprisingly low attendance by the home fans as hardly a handful of the fans showed up to the game. the lack of cheering and support clearly affected the hosts' gameplay.
Minerva defender Kareem Nurain proved to be a brick wall for the visitors in the early moments of the match as the defender kept intercepting forward play by East Bengal forwards Wedson Anselme, Thongkhosiem Haokip and Abinash Ruidas in the final third.
The visitors dominated the hosts’ left wing in the first half but failed to dominate on the other wing as Rahul Bheke successfully marked the Blues’ winger Simranjit Singh on the right side, making it impossible to go through him.
Minerva goalkeeper Arshdeep Singh was the second player of the evening to be shown a yellow card as he brought Jackichand Singh down with a rash challenge in the 21st minute.
East Bengal made an early substitution in the match, even before the half hour mark as Abinash Ruidas came off in the 25th minute to make way for Bikash Jairu in the lineup.
Victor Amobi went on a magnificent solo run in the 28th minute as the Nigerian went past four East Bengal players in the final third but failed to score as the ball was intercepted by Subhasish and finally cleared by Gurwinder Singh.
East Bengal scored the first goal of the evening as Wedson Anselme, who received a pinpoint cross by Rahul Bheke just in front of the Minerva goalkeeper headed the ball into the net in the 31st minute.
Minerva made their first substitution in the 39th minute as Moinuddin Khan came on the field to replace Arashpreet Singh in the defence.
Match Highlights: East Bengal 3-1 Minerva Punjab FC
Two minutes of added time was added to the first half by the assistant referee in the match, but the visitors could not register a comeback in the provided time.
East Bengal brought in Robin Singh in place of Semboi Haokip at the beginning of the second half, to convert the crosses produced by Jackichand Singh on the wings.
Minerva’s first half substitution Moinuddin Khan was subject to a handball in the Minerva box in the 51st minute which triggered the referee to award a penalty kick to East Bengal. Robin Singh took the shot and scored the second goal of the evening in the 52nd minute to provide a 2-0 lead to the hosts.
Minerva made their second substitution in the hour mark when Anirudh Thapa came on for David Ngaihte in the 61st minute.
Apart from the substitutions and the penalty goal by Robin Sigh, the second half proved to be rather uneventful. Minerva forwards Victor Amobi and Anirudh Thapa kept running up and down the wings but failed to score in the process.
Wedson Anselme emerged as one of the most dangerous players on the pitch late in the second half as the Haitian international started wrecking havoc in the opposition box.
Minerva looked to be extending their attacking options in the second half as the visitors brought in Krishna Pandit in the 76th minute for Manandeep Singh.
Victor Amobi came close to scoring in the 80th minute but could not take the shot correctly and the ball went past the bars and to Germanpreet Singh on the left wing.
Romeo Fernandes was substituted in the 81st minute who replaced Jackichand Singh on the wings.
Through a late strike by Bikash Jairu, East Bengal went on to have a 3-0 lead over Minerva Punjab in their last home game of this I-League season.
Four minutes of time was added by the assistant referee to the match at the end of the second half. Minerva substitution Krishna Pandit scored a late goal to give his side a consolation goal in the fourth minute of the extra time.
This was their first win for the Red and Gold after the best part of four weeks and was also his first success for assistant coach Ranjan Choudhury. The win takes the Kolkata club upto 30 points in the table while it also means that Minerva Punjab cannot qualify for the Federation Cup.
Published: Sun Apr 23, 2017 09:18 PM IST