Monday, 30th October 2017

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East Bengal lose tie, temper

Like against Bagan, Ansumana Kromah was once again the tormentor-in-chief

By Sudipto Gupta in Calcutta
  • Published 10.09.19, 3:13 AM
  • Updated 10.09.19, 3:13 AM
  • a min read
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Ansumana Kromah on Monday Picture by Santosh Ghosh

East Bengal lost their cool and the match on Monday. Peerless SC smiled their way to a 1-0 victory, their second big kill in the CFL Premier Division after having thumped Mohun Bagan 3-0 earlier.

Like against Bagan, Ansumana Kromah was once again the tormentor-in-chief. The Liberian, who likened himself to Lionel Messi after the match, scored the winner from a penalty kick in the 66th minute, after East Bengal’s Kamalpreet Singh had brought down Pankaj Moula inside the box.

Post the goal, Peerless adopted a time-wasting strategy and that infuriated both the East Bengal players and fans. But all the anger, protests and heckling of opposition players and the referee earned the red-and-gold brigade no points, while Peerless walked away with three.

It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that East Bengal, despite their Spanish Armada, were outsmarted by Jahar Das’s Peerless side.

It’s difficult to understand what made East Bengal coach Alejandro Menendez Garcia not pick some of his better players in the starting XI, despite Peerless being the strongest team in the league after the ‘Big Two’.

There were few good moves, almost no wing play and an absolute lack of intent in how East Bengal went about their job in the first hour of the match. Barring a Marcos Espada header off a Lalrindika Ralte free-kick that was thwarted by the post in the 36th minute, Alejandro’s team had nothing to show for in the first half.

It was only after conceding the goal that Alejandro thought it necessary to infuse the right legs into the game. That brought some urgency, but it was too little, too late.

Peerless, who could have had an even better scoreline had Jiten Murmu’s thunderous right-footer not hit the horizontal, are at the top of the points table with 13 points halfway into the league, followed by Bagan on 11. East Bengal have 10.

It’s perhaps too early to say so, but Peerless have ignited possibilities of a non-‘Big Three’ team winning the CFL for the first time since 1958, when Eastern Railway were the winners.