Calcutta: Kingfisher East Bengal’s unbeaten run of 20 matches came to an end on Thursday when they lost 1-2 to Techno Aryan Club in a CFL Premier Division tie at the club ground.
Pankaj Moula scored the winner in the 75th minute after Gopal Debnath gave Aryan the lead in the 12th. Raju Gaikwad had equalised in the 65th. Aryan, thus, remained a hurdle for Morgan’s men. While they thrashed East Bengal 4-1 last season, the scoreline was 2-1 in 2010-11 season.
On Thursday Aryan kept things simple and in the end that made the difference. They absorbed pressure, defended resolutely and hit East Bengal on the counter.
East Bengal, who fielded their second-string side, were undone by trying too many things at the same time. Since there was very little understanding between the players, there were numerous mispasses. At times, the defenders were caught out of position and the Aryan players troubled them with their pace.
East Bengal coach Trevor James Morgan, however, took the loss in his stride. “A defeat gives you many things to look at while a win may hide those … I’m a bit disappointed with the way we conceded the first goal and the way we defended. But it is important that we move forward… We want to rectify the mistakes,” said Morgan.
Aryan went into the lead in the 12th minute through Debnath’s stunning 30-yard free-kick. The right-footed strike was so precise that East Bengal goalkeeper Jayanta Paul had no chance of saving it. East Bengal’s first chance of the match came in the 30th minute when striker Robin Singh hit a brilliant free-kick from 26 yards. But an alert Aryan goalkeeper Shibram Dey parried the ball away.
Robin got another chance to score the equaliser in the 39th minute but his left-footer hit the upright.
East Bengal had to wait till the 66th minute to score the equaliser. Robin back-headed a Lalrindika Ralte corner to Raju at the far post. Raju obliged by heading home.
In the 76th minute, Aryan scored against the run of play. Ram Mallick made a rippling run on the left flank before crossing for Pankaj. The cross was so good that it left three East Bengal defenders stranded as Pankaj headed past Jayanta. Despite the loss, East Bengal remained at the top of Group A with 16 points from seven matches.
Aryan: Shibram Dey, Raju Koley, Agwu Richard, Srikanta Koley, Pradip Roy (Satyajit Bose 80th), Gopal Debnath, Ram Mallick, Pankaj Moula, Sukanta Banerjee, Emeka Ochei, Michael Segum Tayo.
East Bengal: Jayanta Paul, Saikat Saha Roy, Raju Gaikwad, Sunil Kumar, Robert Lalthlamuana, Reisangmi Vashum (Manandeep Singh 62nd), Cavin Lobo, Subodh Kumar (Sushant Mathew 72nd), Lalrindika Ralte, Robin Singh, Seiminlen Doungel (Alvito D’Cunha 62nd)
Referee: Debjit Das