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10-man East Bengal go down to Dempo

- Tolgay scores the winner; Gurwinder sent off

Calcutta: Armando Colaco’s return to Goa was soured by a solitary goal defeat for East Bengal against Dempo at the Nehru Stadium in Fatorda, on Sunday.

Colaco had guided Dempo to an unprecedented five national league titles and coached Dempo for 13 years before the East Bengal move a couple of months ago. Colaco returned to Goa with East Bengal and squared up with his former club but there were no concessions as Tolgay Ozebe scored the only goal against a 10-man East Bengal. It was Dempo’s first home win over East Bengal in five attempts.

In another match of the day, a resolute Mumbai FC (MFC) held league leaders Bengaluru FC (BFC) to a 1-1 draw, in Bangalore.

A barren first half led to an entertaining second, which saw two good goals and a handful spurned. India international Robin Singh cancelled out MFC’s Nigerian midfielder Ebi Sukore’s opener.

East Bengal called the shots at the start and controlled the proceedings amicably. But with Gurwinder Singh sent off for a challenge on Haroon Fakhruddin Amiri in the 44th minute, East Bengal were left with their backs against the wall.

The East Bengal defender was a direct red card for an off-the-ball fracas with Amiri in the 44th minute. Apparently it appeared a soft dismissal. But Dempo officials claimed Gurwinder had punched Amiri and deserved to be sent off.

“You saw it for yourself. You decide,” Colaco later told reporters. “The red card made all the difference,” Colaco added.

Dempo eventually grew in confidence and Tolgay, a former East Bengal striker, helped Dempo win all the three points with a smart header in the 70th minute.

East Bengal will be disappointed that they got nothing out of this match, especially because of the manner in which they started the game. Nigerian striker Edeh Chidi and Japanese midfielder Ryuji Sueoka were in fine fettle at the start and seemed to push Dempo in their own half for a majority of the first half.

Shylo Malsawmtluanga had a powerful shot blocked by Dempo goalkeeper Laxmikant Kattimani and then Sueoka’s attempt landed straight into the hands of the goalkeeper.

For Dempo, Beto had the first look at the rival goal but his shot did not test Gurpreet Singh Sandhu. Another attempt went abegging when Tolgay’s through ball for Alwyn George did not get the desired result.

The match then took a different course when Gurwinder was sent off for a foul on Haroon, reducing East Bengal’s dominance.