TOLLYGUNGE AGRAGAMI 2 EAST BENGAL 2
Calcutta, Sept. 7: Twice in the red, East Bengal managed a face-saving 2-2 draw versus Tollygunge Aragami in their Calcutta League Super Division match at the Salt lake Stadium on Saturday.
In an otherwise scrappy encounter, there were two finely executed goals and two really lousy ones, and fits of temper saw one from each team — Isiaka Awoyemi of Tollygunge and Douglas De Souza of East Bengal — marched out by referee Sajal Basu, two minutes before the break.
Goals for Tollygunge were from Sujay Dutta and Ashim Biswas, while Subhas Chakraborty and Chandan Das scored for East Bengal.
This Super Division season the Salt Lake Stadium had been a great deal of slush, providing for poor soccer. Today the ground was dry as the match took off, and imaginative play was possible to an extent. East Bengal took time settling down while Tollygunge were opening up, moving into attack mode.
The East Bengal defence looked slow in reacting when Mehtab Hossain lobbed to the goalmouth from the right, six minutes into the match. That cut off two defenders. But nobody reacted even when Ashim set it up for Sujay to execute a fine side-volley that nestled into the right top corner of the netting.
Too suddenly in the red, East Bengal attacked with venom. This open play of Tollygunge, if good for soccer, was bad for their defence. Any weak defence is scared to have a too forward-looking half line. Moreover, the East Bengal attack line has proved itself time and again this season.
In the 20th minute a Chandan free-kick from the left to the goalmouth found S. Kulothungan in position. Kulothungan took a prompt and fine back-volley, which was as athletically tipped over by Tollygunge goalkeeper Amar Deb. Nine minuets later it was the turn of Douglas De Souza to head over from close an Amjad Ali centre.
East Bengal coach pushed in Tushar Rakshit in place of Amjad in the 29th minute to provide more mobility to the half line. The right side did get moving a bit, but the forward line was not too affected.
In the 31st minute Okoro was sent up the left and sent a fine backpass from near the goal. Subhas latched on and centred accurately to Kulothungan at the goalmouth. With the set-piece having been executed so well till then, Kulothungan messed it up.
The equaliser came two minutes later. Kulothungan loped up the left and sent a centre to Subhas on top of the box. Subhas moved into the box and sent a rasping volley to the right top corner of the netting.
A flush of a sharp shower had created a somewhat unsure underfoot condition, and play was getting a bit scrappy. However, the Douglas-Isiaka fisticuffs on the right an off the ball was totally uncalled for. There was a great deal of commotion, and the referee took his time, bit rightly marched both out.
The same cannot be said about the other actions of the referee, though. He was too lenient on occasions, and made some rather odd errors.
And East Bengal official Swapan Bal was boorish. After the sending-off of Douglas, Bal went up to the linesman near him and kept irritating the official till a police official had to go up and interfere.
Play slowed down a bit in the second half and East Bengal again careless. Off a sudden counter-attack, Tollygunge’s Mehtab was in the East Bengal box. he passed to Ashim, who took a somewhat tentative shot at goal. M. Suresh and Anit Ghosh failed to react, and as goalkeeper Satish Kumar advanced, he failed to intercept. As Satish turned, he saw the ball rolling in. He could run back and collect only after the ball had crossed the goalline.
East Bengal struck back again, but what got the goal was sad. Malswamtluanga had moved into the box, and as soon as Srikanta Dutta did a check’ Malswamtluanga dived. Referee Basu was way off the point of action, but had no hesitation whatsoever in rushing in to point to the ‘spot’. It looked rather outrageous.
Chandan Das converted to equalise again.
The draw hasn’t threatened East Bengal’s top position in the league. But Tollygunge’s position could be a little better if the return East Bengal-Mohammedan Sporting match Thursday goes the latters’ way.
TOLLYGUNGE AGRAGAMI: Amar Deb, Kabijit Khotel (Manas Das, 54), Isiaka Awoyemi, Deb Kumar Sasmal, Dipanjan Majumdar, Srikanta Dutta, Mehtab Hossain, Sandip Das, Sujay Dutta (Sujit Neogi, 63), Akeem (Biswarup Bisu, 42), Ashim Biswas.
EAST BENGAL: Satish Kumar, Amjad Ali (Tushar Rakshit, 29), M. Suresh, Douglas De Souza, Shankarlal Chakraborty, Anit Ghosh, Chandan Das, S. Malswamtluanga, Subhas Chakraborty (Jiten Rai, 77), Mike Okoro, K. Kulothungan (Alvito D’Cunha, 60).
Referee: Sajal Basu.