| East Bengal scorers Amjad Ali Khan (left) and Tushar Rakshit
Calcutta: Champions luck is something that had eluded Subhas Bhowmick in the first phase of his coaching career. But this time around, it seems that things have really turned around for the East Bengal coach.
The way the red-and-gold brigade scraped past Indian Bank 2-1 in the TVS Fiero IFA Shield opener at Salt Lake Stadium Monday, courtesy, a couple of horrendous goalkeeping errors by Felix Edward, bears ample testimony to the fact that fortune is finally favouring the maverick coach.
However, Tushar Rakshit deserves special mention. Coming on in the 45th minute, he took charge of a malfunctioning midfield and changed things around for the city giants.
East Bengal were off to a brisk start making inroads into the Indian Bank territory. But the Chennai side, playing a counter-attack based football, tried to slow down the pace. They looked really incisive on the counter and the way they increased men in defence as well as attack was laudable. One could understand why the bigger teams are having such a torrid time against them in the National League.
The goal that Indian Bank scored in the 33rd minute was the product of a similar counter-attack. Getting a free-kick just outside the box, Harish floated the ball in and with ’keeper Sangram Mukherjee missing the flight, Joseph slotted in from close.
The bankmen once again caught the East Bengal defence napping on the counter in the 40th minute. Getting a long ball from the midfield, Harish sent a beautiful cross, but Joseph missed with an open net in front of him.
Down by a goal, the city giants came all guns blazing in the second half. Gilmar Goncalves, in tandem with Tushar, played some quality football in the preparatory zone, but the strikers were not quite upto the mark.
Gilmar set one up for Chandan Das in the 54th minute, but his scorching right footer was well-saved by a diving Edward.
But the custodian let all his good work go down the drain in the 58th minute, when he allowed a weak Tushar shot from around 25 yards to go through his legs and enter the net.
Usually outstation teams lose the plot after conceding a goal, but Indian Bank looked far more organised. They slowed down the game by a few notches and even came extremely close to scoring again when Harish’s 25-yard pile-driver was brilliantly saved by Sangram. Just when it looked that the game will end in a stalemate, Edward again made a hash of a Soumitra Chakraborty cross, and Amjad Ali Khan waiting nearby, tapped in.
East Bengal now have three points from one game while Indian Bank have four from three.
East Bengal: Sangram Mukherjee; Arun Malhotra, Amjad Ali Khan, Suley Musah; Y. Raju Singh (Tushar Rakshit, 45), S. Malswamtluanga, Chandan Das, Shankarlal Chakraborty, Sasthi Duley (Soumitra Chakraborty, 71), Kaustav Ghosh, Gilmar Goncalves (Trijit Das 46).
Indian Bank: Felix Edward; David Maria Jerald, Antony Noel, Ananda Ranjan, Villy; Harish, Mohammed Bin Hassan, Joseph, Ravi Babu, Stanley Festus; Mohammed Qaizar (Hamilton Bobby, 64).
Referee: S. Sujauddin (Bihar).