The Red and Gold Brigade will be facing table-toppers Chennai City in their next game in the league.
East Bengal prevailed 1-2 over a spirited Indian Arrows side in their I-League clash at the Kalinga Stadium on Tuesday. It was a feisty affair, as both teams did not shy away and went all out in search for a win. East Bengal took the lead through Laldanmawia Ralte, who was at the right place at the right time. The Red Gold Brigade doubled their lead through the in-form Jobby Justin. While the Arrows’ only goal came from a penalty by Ninthoiganba Meetei, which was nothing but a mere consolation.
5. Is Prabhsukhan Gill India’s next top young goalkeeper?
The Arrows were shaky defensively, as they had to withstand East Bengal’s attacking onslaught for a considerable amount of time. However, one man who was like a shining light for Floyd Pinto’s side was Prabhsukhan Gill. The young custodian gave a great account of himself on the day by saving a penalty, despite it being a weak effort from Lalrindika Ralte.
The 18-year-old custodian even saved the shot from Samad Ali Mallick which led to the second goal. He did not get any assistance from his defenders, as Justin was the first to reach the rebound and calmly slotted it home. India have been producing some talented, young goalkeepers over the years and Gill seems to be the latest addition to that list.
4. Has Kassim Aidara managed to win back coach Alejandro Menendez’s’s trust?
In his early days at the club, Alejandro Menendez assessed all the players and was not very amazed by midfield recruit Kassim Aidara. There was speculation of him leaving the club and Menendez often fielded the Indian midfielders ahead of him. His fitness levels were too low for the coach’s liking and his work-ethic did not suit the system he wanted to implement. However, Aidara’s limitless hard work and perseverance has paved his way back to first-team football.
From being out of favour Aidara is now the epicentre of East Bengal’s midfield. He may not be the most technically sound midfielder in the league, but he is immensely important to the team’s success and his recent performances are a testament to that.
3. Is Jobby Justin a genuine contender for the I-League Golden Boot?
Justin has been East Bengal’s go-to man, especially in the absence of star striker Enrique Esqueda. The striker has taken the burden of scoring most of the goals on his shoulders and he has been sensational throughout the season so far. His latest goal against the Arrows takes his tally to seven, making him the highest Indian goalscorer in the league.
However, the likes of Pedro Manzi (11) and Willis Plaza (10) are still ahead of him and it will be a tough task for the East Bengal man to challenge them. But, with East Bengal’s attacking panache and the presence of quality ball players, Justin might have an outside chance of bagging the Golden Boot.
2. Will Lalramchullova’s absence be a major hit for East Bengal against Chennai City?
The Red and Gold Brigade will take on league leaders Chennai City next and it will be a very crucial match in the context of the title race. But, Menendez’s men are already on the back foot as left-back Lalramchullova is suspended for the important fixture. The defender was involved in a war of words with Arrows forward Rahul KP and in the heat of the moment the East Bengal man lost his calm and came up with a headbutt right in front of the referee.
Although, the intensity of the headbutt was questionable, but such a thing can never be overlooked in football. He was rightfully sent off in the second half and despite winning the match, Menendez won’t be happy with the left-back’s reckless attitude.
1. Were momentary lapses in concentration the main reason for Arrows’ downfall?
Indian Arrows came into this game full of confidence, as they had recently defeated Aizawl FC and promised a similar fight against the Red and Gold Brigade. However, Pinto’s side were defensively disorganized which is pretty uncharacteristic of the Blue Colts. Anwar Ali had a rare off day, as he held on to the ball for way too long and invited pressure from his East Bengal counterparts.
In the build-up to the first goal, the whole Arrows’ backline was caught napping as nobody marked Jaime Santos, who did capitalize on the free space from a throw-in. Santos then whipped in a beautiful ball in for Laldanmawia to complete the move. Even for the second goal, the defenders allowed Justin to score from the rebound as they were too late to react.