Kolkata: Defending champions East Bengal came back from behind to win their encounter against Patha Chakra 2-1 with goals from young Brandon Vanlalremdika and midfielder Mahmoud Al-Amnah in the Calcutta Football League at the East Bengal ground on Thursday.
Playing without regular starters Willis Plaza, Carlyle Mitchell and VP Suhair, East Bengal started the match cautiously but it was the Chakra strikers who looked in fine touch in the early moments of the game.
As the game progressed, the home side began controlling the proceedings winning two back to back corners in the 20th minute. However, it was Patha Chakra who took the early lead in the 40th minute when striker Joel made a brilliant run into the box, before passing the ball to an unmarked Jagannath Oraon, to tap in to an empty net.
The combination of Mahmoud-Brandon-Surabuddin Mullick despite working relentlessly, could not find a way to break the tight Patha defence. Then, in the 46th minute Al Amnah sent in a free kick into the box, which the Chakra goalie failed to collect. Brandon, who was lurking in the box immediately latched onto the opportunity, scoring from a tight angle to level things up as the first half drew to an end.
The second half started just in the opposite fashion as the home side went all out on attacks, forcing Patha Chakra goalie Suvam Roy to make numerous saves. Joby Justin’s shot even rattled the crossbar, but none could score a goal.
But then, just when it looked that the game would end with a draw, East Bengal were awarded a penalty, after Mahmoud was fouled in the box in the 81st minute of the match. The former Aizwal FC player made no mistake putting the ball into the net to bring up a crucial win for the Red and Gold brigade.
With this win, East Bengal not only continue their winning run of six matches in this year’s CFL but also regained their position on top of the table, two points clear of second placed Mohun Bagan having played the same number of matches.