East Bengal blank Chennai City FC 3-0 in a one-sided encounter before the Kolkata derby…

The Kolkata giants put up a rather dull show against Chennai City FC tonight at the Barasat Stadium. This was the last game for Trevor Morgan’s men before the prestigious Kolkata Derby on 12th February.

The visitors started the match on a highly physical note. East Bengal looked to be retreating at some points. However, the Red-and-Golds responded quickly, countering Chennai City FC, which resulted in a one-on-one chance for Nikhil Poojary which was missed when he shot the ball wide over the posts in the 6th minute.

Not only the visiting team but also East Bengal were caught off-guard when Rehenesh went up on the pitch, to intercept Charles in the 20 in the 6th minute. However, the Brazilian got past Rehenesh but was intercepted by Rahul Bheke quickly who sent the ball out of the game.

The hosts tried to counter Chennai City FC few times in the first half, but failed to turn the flow of the game in their favor as the visitors’ defenders Celestine, Debabrata and Prasanth successfully marked East Bengal’s Trinidad & Tobago striker Willis Plaza by turns. On the other hand, Chennai had started to create a positive vibe to the game courtesy to Brazilian forward Charles De Souza who was rampant going forward and missed two chances twenty minutes into the game.

Making several attacks and not scoring any made East Bengal play an aggressive game in the final 15 minutes of the first half, resulting Robin Singh being shown a yellow card in the 37th minute for his foul on Chennai City FC footballer Dhanapal Ganesh.

Nikhil Poojary showed glimpses of his true potential in the first half, making several solo runs towards the opponent box. The U-22 footballer almost wrote his name on the game-sheet when his long ball from the left wing found Robin Singh in Chennai’s final third but Abhra Mondal was quick to collect the ball from the air, denying Singh to score the first goal of the match.

East Bengal, however, came back to scoring ways in the early minutes of the second half when Wedson Anselme scored the first goal of the evening in the 50th minute after receiving a delightful chipped pass from skipper Lalrindika Ralte. Following the goal, the hosts changed the formation to a more offensive 3-4-3 immediately.

Matching the paradigm shift in the second half, Chennai responded quickly with an ultra-defensive gameplay, which saw the team shift to a ten-men defending unit by the 60th minute. In the meantime, East Bengal’s Robin Singh had missed a push-in in the 63rd minute failing to increase the lead.

Willis Plaza came close to scoring when the Nigerian striker shot the ball from 25 yards which went over the posts by few inches in the 69th minutes. A few minutes later, the visitors retaliated when a free-kick shot by Denson almost found its way inside the goal but was brilliantly saved by Rehenesh.

Willis Plaza finally found his feet in the 75th minute when a splitting-through ball from Wedson Anselme found Plaza behind the Chennai defenders who quickly netted the ball providing East Bengal a two-goal cushion over Chennai City FC.

The referee added four minutes of injury time to the game. In the last minute of injury time, Haokip was brought down by Chennai City defenders in the Chennai City final third. Red-and-Golds skipper Ralte took the shot and scored in the final seconds of the game, making the final score 3-0.