Calcutta: East Bengal registered a win just when it mattered, beating Mumbai FC 2-0 in on Sunday’s I-League tie in Kalyani.
The victory comes a day after coach Trevor Morgan had expressed concern at the lack of enterprise that was affecting East Bengal’s prospects in the league race.
For the moment, though, East Bengal look to be back on course. Edeh Chidi and Lalrindika Ralte scored to ensure full points from the game for the red-and-gold brigade, now placed second with 30 points from 15 appearances so far.
East Bengal could not take the full advantage of their dominance in the first half. The home side created at least five good scoring opportunities, but could score only once to lead 1-0 at the halfway stage. Mumbai FC goalkeeper Luis Barreto, too, played his part in effecting three excellent saves to deny the hosts.
East Bengal, though, could have gained the lead in the second minute itself had Barreto not come up with a spectacular save to block Chidi’s attempt. The MFC ‘keeper was again instrumental five minutes later when East Bengal captain Mehtab Hossain unleashed a rasping left-footer from outside the box.
However, Barreto failed to rescue his side from Edeh Chidi’s angular shot that put East Bengal ahead in the 11th minute.
Mumbai FC had opportunities to equalise late in the session, but could not level the proceedings, as striker ND Opara failed to connect twice from close range.
Almost immediately after he ensured missing the next match (against Churchill Brothers) due to two yellow cards in as many matches, Lalrindika Ralte doubled the margin for East Bengal in 53rd minute, getting his magical left foot into play.
The East Bengal midfielder found the Mumbai FC net with a terrific long-ranger that bulged into the net, beating the rival goalie all ends up.
East Bengal, towards the end, were awarded with a penalty after Fakhruddin Amiri pulled Chidi down inside the box. But, Chidi missed the mark, sending the ball wide from the spot that avoided further humiliation for the visitors.