Calcutta: East Bengal scripted history by being the first Indian team to reach the AFC Cup semi-final remaining unbeaten in nine successive matches. From Bhaichung Bhutia to former coach Trevor James Morgan, everyone showered accolades on Marcos Falopa’s men for their fantastic achievement.
“It’s a proud moment not just for East Bengal, but also for the entire nation. I back East Bengal to go the distance,” remarked Bhutia.
Bhowmick, too, echoed Bhutia’s sentiments. “East Bengal do have it in them to proceed further,” he said.
“I believe East Bengal will play Kuwait SC in the semi-final. Kuwait SC are a very good side.
“However, over two games, anything can happen... And football being the game it is, the best team does not always win,” was how Morgan put it.
The following are excerpts (in alphabetical order)
Karim Bencharifa: I don’t want to make any comment (on East Bengal)… Thank you!
Subhas Bhowmick: I’m really very happy for East Bengal. No wonder it’s a great achievement. Any kind of success at the international level is a positive sign as far as Indian football is concerned.
But from hereon, things will get tougher as East Bengal have to face the teams from the Middle East and the South-East Asian nations. That said, nothing is impossible, considering how East Bengal are playing at the moment.
Bhaichung Bhutia: It’s a proud moment not just for East Bengal, but also for the entire nation. That they have made it to the semis itself is a terrific achievement… There shouldn’t be any doubt about it. I couldn’t watch today’s match since I had other commitments. But if you ask me about East Bengal’s performance, I feel it’s got more to do with the nucleus of the team being the same for the last two-three years.
I do back these guys to go the distance. They just seem to keep on making us happier!
Trevor James Morgan: It’s a tremendous achievement and will give more recognition to Indian football in general. I am happy for the players and supporters and hope they enjoy the moment.
I believe East Bengal will play Kuwait SC in the semi-final. It will be a tough game for them as Kuwait SC are a very good side and play in a much stronger competition, which is certainly a factor when two sides clash.
However, over two games, anything can happen. And football being the game it is, the best team does not always win.
Abdul Aziz Moshood: My heartiest congratulations to the East Bengal team for their efforts. They deserve to be lauded.
It’s really good to see one of the Calcutta-based clubs reach the semi-finals of an important tournament. My best wishes to them.
I saw today’s match and what impressed me most was the team-game that East Bengal relied on. No one tried to do anything extraordinary. Precisely, their approach was ideal when it comes to playing such critical matches away from home.
Tolgay Ozebe: Doesn’t matter whether you are an East Bengal supporter or not… You ought to give it to them for their splendid effort.
Now that they have reached the semi-finals, it shouldn’t be very surprising if they go on to make the final.