| Andrew Barisic |
Calcutta: In the lead-up to the Derby, even a victory failed to satisfy Kingfisher East Bengal coach Trevor James Morgan.
The 4-1 win against Eastern Railway FC in a Calcutta Football League Premier Division Super Nine match, at the Kalyani Stadium, on Tuesday, may be seen as a convincing result by the fans, but the profligacy of the strikers — Robin Singh, Baljit Sahni and Andrew Barisic — kept Morgan a worried man.
East Bengal maintained good possession and created numerous openings. But the strikers’ failure to convert the chances robbed the side of a even bigger margin. Against Mohun Bagan, on Saturday, Morgan would expect a better conversion rate.
“We should have won the match by a bigger margin. We should have sealed the match in the first half itself by taking at least a 5-0 lead,” Morgan said. “It was frustrating because the players took the right position, but chose the wrong options,” added Morgan.
East Bengal’s new recruit Barisic scored his maiden goal while Robin Singh and Harmanjyot Singh Khabra also got their names on the scoresheet. Eastern Railway defender Dipankar Ghosh scored an own goal.
For the Railwaymen, substitute Bapan Bera reduced the margin in the 75th minute.
While the form of the strikers comes as a disappointment for Morgan, what would please the coach is the performance of midfielder Penn Orji.
In recent matches, Penn found it difficult to get going. Neither was he creating any chances, nor he was playing a good blocker. However, on Tuesday, Penn was brilliant, orchestrating the East Bengal midfield and developing numerous moves.
Vashum, on the other hand, was superb on the wings, putting in inch-perfect crosses for the strikers.
The first goal was a result of Penn’s superb through ball to Baljit, who, in turn, laid it off to Robin. The lanky striker did not make any mistake, placing the ball comfortably to give East Bengal the lead as early as in the sixth minute.
After that, the red and gold brigade got numerous chances to score, but found the net only on three more occasions. They have to pull their socks up before Saturday.