| Paresh Shivalkar (centre) celebrates with Air India teammates after scoring against East Bengal in Mumbai on Monday. (PTI) |
Mumbai: A solitary second-half goal by skipper Paresh Shivalkar powered local outfit Air India to a 1-0 victory over Calcutta giants East Bengal in an I-League tie at the Cooperage ground here on Monday.
Shivalkar, a veritable thorn in the visiting teams flesh with his dashing runs down the left flank and superb ball distribution, cracked a right-footer from inside the box, off a centre from the right, to beat East Bengal custodian.
The goal, which came in the 61st minute of the match after a well-contested first half, provided AI the lead after which the local outfit stood firm and held East Bengal at bay till the end to notch their first win in six matches.
The spadework for the airmens match winner was done by their African import Bashiru Abbas through a surge down the middle and a hooked ball with his back to the rival goal for right back Vijith Shetty to collect and send the cross across the goalmouth.
Three East Bengal defenders stood rooted and the ball went to Shivalkar who wasted no time and unleashed home the winner to give Air India three points which boosted their tally to seven.
Air India played comparatively an attacking game than their rivals.
The Calcutta outfit, who slumped to their third defeat in seven ties, remained on seven points.
East Bengal, whose foreign import Edmilson Marques showed prodigality up front, were a bit defensive till they were stung by the goal and then made all-out effort to find the equaliser only to fail. (PTI)