Calum Angus was badly missed in the defensive line by the Red and Gold brigade…
East Bengal President XI fought gallantly but went down 1-2 in extra-time to 3 Star Club from Nepal in the Bordoloi Trophy Final at Nehru Stadium, Guwahati yesterday.
East Bengal missed the services of their British defender Calum Angus in the defensive line due to fever as he made way for teenager Kousik Sarkar who partnered Arshpreet in the central defense. Apart from Angus, it was the same squad that defeated Lajong 1-0 in the semi-final.
The Calcutta Football League champions, despite taking the lead in the 84th minute conceded a goal in the last few seconds of injury time in the second half and another one in extra0time to miss a golden opportunity to clinch the title.
Three-Star club went into the game with their well-known 4-3-3 formation and Martin and Bijaya Gurung leading the way while East Bengal began with a 4-4-1-1 formation but later shifted to 4-4-2.
In the first half, both the teams had their fair share of chances but could not convert a single one as defenders held sway. East Bengal’s Kousik Sarkar produced a brilliant display in the whole match while it was Three-star’s Peter who led their back four.
It was a goalless stalemate at the end of the first half with both sides playing somebrilliant football. Both the teams changed their tactics after the break as East Bengal gaffer Ranjan Chaudhuri moved Dong from the wings and put him behind the strikers while the Nepali champions used their flanks more to attack.
With a series of attacks from the 65th to 80th minute, the Kolkata side took the lead in the 84th minute of the game when Nigerian Somide Adeleja scored a brilliant goal from a clinical header. It was a perfect cross by Jiten Murmu from the right and Adileja responded like a typical goal-poacher to give East Bengal the much needed lead.
When the East Bengal fans started their celebrations, anticipating the glorious moment, it was winger Devendra Tamang who restored parity with a fantastic finish in the 93rd minute to equalise for the Three Star Club to take the game into extra-time.
The red card handed to East Bengal’s right-back Samad Ali Mallick in the final minutes of the game also gave an advantage to the Nepal champions. But few seconds later, it was Bijaya Gurung who too was given his marching orders and both the sides were down to ten men.
The dramatic moment came in the 98th minute when Devendra Tamang again scored from a magnificent volley from the edge of the box, which eventually became the winning goal to seal the title for the 3 Star Club of Nepal.
Although East Bengal lost the match but they will be short of words to describe the performance of custodian Dibyendu Sarkar and defender Kousik Sarkar who displayed a terrific performance.
Though East Bengal could not manage to clinch the title, but youngsters and academy players like Yami, Prokash Sarkar, Lachanhima and others will land in Kolkata with their heads high as they have shown enough promise for the future.
Match Report by Himangshu Rajkhowa- Khel Now Correspondent from Guwahati.