Calcutta: The refereeing was questionable, but Kingfisher East Bengal had no complaints as they registered a fine 3-1 win over an in-form Rangdajied United FC (RUFC) in Sunday’s I-League encounter, here, at the Salt Lake Stadium.
Edeh Chidi, Reisangmi Vashum and Seiminlen Doungel scored for the hosts, while Ranty Martins was on target for RUFC.
Considering the recent showings of both sides, the scoreline certainly looks a tad surprising. Also, it wasn’t that East Bengal dominated the proceedings right from the outset. But on this occasion, Armando Colaco’s men grabbed almost all opportunities coming their way, which eventually ensured them full points, especially after a highly disappointing performance against another Shillong outfit — Lajong FC — in their previous game.
With this win, East Bengal are now seventh in the standings with 27 points, while Rangdajied, who were on a roll having won their last three matches, dropped to ninth.
No wonder there’s some relief in the East Bengal camp, though only for the time being as the injury list has extended further with James Moga and Seiminlen Doungel (whose stay in the middle was restricted to barely a quarter of an hour) being the latest additions. Colaco admitted it would be extremely difficult to put together a proper XI when his team resumes action this Wednesday against Mumbai FC.
“Of course, it’s a good win for us. But what about our next game? It’s just after two days and we don’t have players (thanks to all the injuries)... It’s a big worry,” Colaco lamented.
The situation could well have been worse for East Bengal had the two decisions — one from referee A. Rowan and another from linesman Soma Oraon — which irked the Rangdajied camp the most, not gone in their favour. Early in the 15th minute, Rowan awarded the hosts a penalty after Lamine Tamba tripped Edeh Chidi inside the box. Wrong-footing rival goalie T.P. Rohenesh, Chidi had no problems in converting the spot-kick.
Chidi, with this strike, became the fifth player after Ranty Martins, Okolie Odafa, Yusif Yakubu and Jose Ramirez Barreto to have scored 100 goals in the National League.
Towards the end of the first session, with both teams locked 1-1, Eugeneson Lyngdoh headed home a Steven Dias free-kick. But leaving the visitors stunned, the goal was ruled off-side by linesman Oraon.
Ranty was upset and he had every reason to be because it was his superb strike, off Dias’s accurate floater, which helped Rangdajied equalise at the half-hour stage.
That said, some credit ought to be given to East Bengal for cashing in on the crucial moments. Reisangmi Vashum, playing only his second match in this I-League, delivered to give East Bengal the lead against the run of play.
He seemed to be losing the ball, off Chidi’s centre, but recovered in time to slot it home past an advancing ’keeper, making it 2-1 seconds before the half-time whistle.