Calcutta: According to the scoresheet, Subodh Kumar was East Bengal’s hero having found the target a minute before the final whistle to hand his team a 2-1 victory over Aryan in Saturday’s CFL Championship Round, here, at the Salt Lake Stadium.
But credit should actually go to referee Minangshu Bhattacharya who didn’t overlook the time-wasting tactics of Aryan, especially goalkeeper Anupam Sinha who collapsed repeatedly even after collecting a ball neatly. Bhattacharya made them pay for the tactics, adding another couple of minutes into the six-minute added-on time of the second session.
Aryan may well have their reasons to complain, but East Bengal ensured they capitalised on those prised extra moments. Receiving the ball off a faulty clearance, Subodh was quick to come up with a left-footer that went in off a deflection from stopperback Godwin Orieke.
The joys of East Bengal, and particularly that of Subodh, knew no bounds. For East Bengal, they desperately needed to win this game not just to be on track for the CFL title, but also to make sure the off-the-field incidents had no effect whatsoever on the team’s performance. And for Subodh, it was a goal scored after more than a year… No wonder it was a special occasion for him.
Earlier, thanks to Robert Lalthlamuana’s comical piece of defending, Sagar Das earned Aryan an early lead. After plenty of missed chances, Arnab Mondal finally calmed the East Bengal nerves in the 70th minute with his equaliser, running in and heading home Robert’s free-kick. Meanwhile, East Bengal’s marquee player Leo Bertos was brought on in the 53rd minute in place of Mehtab Hussain.
East Bengal: Abhijit Mondal; Deepak Mondal, Arnab Mondal, Gurwinder Singh, Robert Lalthlamuana; Shylo Malsawmtluanga (Mohammed Rafique, 66), Mehtab Hussain (Leo Bertos, 53), Cavin Lobo (Subodh Kumar, 90+2), Joaquim Abranches; Baljit Sahni, Ranty Martins
Aryan: Anupam Sinha; Sudip Das, Ashim Kumar Dey, Godwin Orieke, Avik Guha; Dhananjay Yadav, Chandrasish Dey (Laltu Hembram, 59), Sourav Dasgupta, Sagar Das (Srikanta Kolay, 90+7); Sumon Mallo, Stanley
MoM: Subodh Kumar
Referee: Minangshu Bhattacharya.