Calcutta: Goalkeeping blunders have robbed Kingfisher East Bengal of vital points over the last couple of seasons.
Be it Sandip Nandy’s bungle during the Calcutta Football League Derby, or Gurpreet Singh Sandhu’s goof-up in the I-League match against Prayag United SC, there were quite a few costly mistakes last season.
Something similar happened on Friday and Gurpreet, once again, was the culprit. That, in fact, helped United SC make a comeback in the I-League match at the Kalyani Stadium, which ended 2-2.
With East Bengal very much there in the I-League title race, the points lost may just prove to be too costly in the long run.
Down 0-2, United SC rode goals from Carlos Hernandez and Ranty Martins to eke out a draw. For East Bengal, Edeh Chidi and Manandeep Singh found the net.
As a result of the draw, East Bengal failed to go on top of the standings. They are placed second behind Churchill Brothers with 42 points from 22 matches. United SC are on fourth with 35 points from 22 matches.
Coach Trevor James Morgan rued poor goalkeeping as he said: “Goalkeeping has been our Achilles’ heel for the last two seasons… We have been very inconsistent and we need to improve.”
Carlos was the benefactor of Gurpreet’s howler on Friday. In the 63rd minute of the match, the Costa Rican World Cupper shot a right-footer from 32 yards. Gurpreet seemed to have gripped the ball, but then it slipped away and went between his legs before crossing the dreaded line.
The goal punctured East Bengal’s confidence as they conceded a second just three minutes later. Carlos’ defence-splitting through found Ranty, who slotted home a neat left-footer.
East Bengal, who had a good first half, got the opening goal in the 40th minute. Chidi’s powerful right-footer on the turn was unstoppable for united ’keeper Sangram Mukherjee.
East Bengal then extended the lead in the 49th minute. This time Manandeep scored from the spot after Ishfaq was tripped by Sangram.
The match also saw some heated exchanges between the two coaches, Morgan and United SC’s Eelco Schattorie, at half-time.
United SC: Sangram Mukherjee, Deepak Mondal, Bello Rassaq, Gouramangi Singh, Dhanachandra Singh, Lalkamal Bhowmick, James Singh (K.Asif 56), Mohammed Rafique, Carlos Hernandez (Kayne Vincent 90), Tapan Maity (CK Vineeth 61), Ranty Martins.
East Bengal: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Naoba Singh (Sanju Pradhan 68), Uga Okpara, Gurwinder Singh, Saumik Dey, Harmanjyot Singh Khabra, Mehtab Hussain, Penn Orji (Andrew Barisic 74), Ishfaq Ahmed, Edeh Chidi, Manandeep Singh (Lalrindika Ralte 73).
Referee: Khamba Singh
MoM: Lalkamal Bhowmick