Calcutta: Coach Armando Colaco had repeatedly claimed before the start of the IFA Shield that this tournament really did not matter to him. But even then, the 0-3 capitulation to Dhanmondi Club of Bangladesh must have left the East Bengal camp shattered.
However, what should be more humiliating than a defeat in the IFA Shield semi- final was the unsporting rough play that the local giants resorted to in the latter part of the match.The red card seen by Arnab Mondal in the closing minutes of the match — result of a double yellow — underscored the frustration of their camp.
But it was the foreign trio of Dhanmondi — Emeka Darlington, Sony Nordy and Wedson Anselme — who made it worthwhile for the football lovers at the Salt Lake Stadium on Tuesday, scoring one goal each.
Emeka Darlington not only scored the first one but also set up the second.
In the 23rd minute a measured cross from Wedson Anselme found the dangerous Emeka on the right. His shot struck the far post before going in, leaving the East Bengal defence stranded and a stunned Gurpreet Singh Sandhu under the bar.
Even before East Bengal could really regroup the Bangladeshi team doubled their lead — and this time it was Sony Nordy’s turn. In the last match, Nordy had scored the lone goal against Mohun Bagan ensuring Dhanmundi’s progress to the semi-final.
In the 37th minute, Emeka set up Nordy from the right and he controlled the ball beautifully and a powerful right footer totally foxed Gurpreet and found the net.
The third goal came in the second half with Wedson Anselme taking advantage of yet another defensive lapse and driving it home in the 67th. Three-nil and by then the East Bengal supporters had started trooping out.
The East Bengal defence was completely off-colour with Arnab Mondal, Abhishek Das and Raju Gaikwad not really living up to their billing.
And the famed foreign strength just didn’t click for East Bengal on Tuesday. Edeh Chidi and James Moga had a rather insipid day at office, while Ryuji Sueoka was most prominent at the moment when he was finally replaced with Cavin Lobo in the 61st minute.
And then Dhanmondi coach Joseph Afusi took out the ever dangerous Emeka and brought in Alli Amisu Abdulahi to seal the defence further.
Dhanmondi Club: Mazharul Islam, Mohammed Nasiruddin (Rayhan Hasan, 84), Yeamin Ahmed, Mohammed Lincoln, Mamun Islam, Sohel Rana (Kesto Bose, 90+3), Didarul Hoqe, Yeasin Khan, Sony Nordy, Wedson Anselme, Emeka Darlington (Amisu Abdulahi 65).
East Bengal: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu; Abhishek Das, Arnab Mondal, Raju Gaikwad, Robert Lalthlamuana, Joaquim Abranches (Seiminlen Doungel 51), Subodh Kumar (Harmanjyot Singh Khabra 35), Ryuji Sueoka (Cavin Lobo 61), Lalrindika Ralte, Edeh Chidi, James Moga.
Referee: MB Santosh Kumar
MoM: Wedson Anselme