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Plaza shines as East Bengal seal first win

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The striker scored the winner as the Red and Gold edged past DSK Shivajians...

DSK Shivajians stumbled to a 1-2 defeat against Kingfisher East Bengal in their first home match of the Hero I-League 2016-17. It was the away side, who took the lead from the spot via Wedson Anselme. DSK Shivajians got themselves back in the match courtesy of Gouramangi Singh’s 64th-minute goal, but a goal on 80 minutes from debutante Willis Plaza proved enough to get the visitors over the line at full-time.

Trevor Morgan made four changes to the side which featured in the 1-1 draw against Aizwal FC; goal-scorer from the match, Ivan Bukenya started along with forwards Willis Plaza, Thongkhosiem Haokip and (Under-22) Nikhil Poojari, as the away team lined-up in a 4-2-3-1 shape. A change in captaincy meant midfielder Lalrindika Ralte was handed the captain’s armband.

The home side, DSK Shivajians, who lined-up in a 3-4-3 shape, made four changes for their opening home match of the season bringing in Nirmal Chettri and Gouramangi Singh to face a new-look attack of Kingfisher East Bengal. Manager Dave Rogers gave forward Holicharan Narzary a chance up front, and accompanying him was 19-year-old Lallianzuala Chhangte in the attack.

Wedson Anselm was found with a neat through pass in behind the DSK Shivajians defence; goalkeeper Anganba was instinctual to close down the East Bengal forward, but caught the player instead of the ball, in his attempt. Referee Venkatesh R. had no option, but to award the away team a penalty, which Anselme converted on 14 minutes, putting the ball home straight down the middle.

As both sides looked intent on attacking from the offset, the game witnessed open attacking football throughout the first-45 minutes. East Bengal were growing into the game with every passing minute, managing to create a host of goal bound opportunities. But an excellent display in-goal from Anganba for DSK Shivajians kept the hosts in the game, as the two-sided headed into the halftime break at 1-0.

As both sides came out in the second half, DSK Shivajians made two changes at half-time; Jerry Lalrinzuala and Ongnam Milan Singh came in for Narzary and Pradhan respectively.

Around the hour mark, East Bengal brought in fresh legs in the likes of Robin Singh and Robin Gurung, who replaced Haokip and Poojari respectively; resulting in a change of shape to 4-3-3. Soon after the substitutions, DSK equalised through Gouramangi Singh in the 64th minute. DSK Shivajians’ Spanish midfielder Juan Quero’s corner met Kim Song Young’s headed effort, which was parried away by Rehenesh, but Mairangthem produced a fine attempt to equalise for the home team.

Trevor Morgan used his last available substitution when Jackichand Singh replaced Wedson.

A change in shape for the away team resulted in a well-crafted goal on the break through Willis Plaza. The Trinidad and Tobago international had a couple of good chances in the first-half but failed to capitalise. This time, Plaza made no error, putting his side 2-1 up on 80 minutes, in a 2v2 chance.

(Under-22) Rohit Kumar was introduced by manager Rogers in place of Gouramangi Singh on 87 minutes, in the hosts’ bid for one last gasp attempt to get back in the match. Eventually, Kingfisher East Bengal recorded their first win of the Hero I-League 2016-17.

 

Published: Sun Jan 15, 2017 03:41 PM IST

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