Kolkata: Defending champions East Bengal’s winning run of six matches in the CFL finally came to an end as Mohammedan Sporting held them to a 2-2 draw at the Kalyani stadium on Saturday.
A win for East Bengal could have increased their chances of retaining the CFL title but that wasn’t how things went despite the good start that they got through Syrian midfielder Al-Amnah who scored a goal through a wonderful volley in the opening minutes of the match. Having conceded one, Mohammedan Sporting soon equalised in the 23rd minute through Jiten Murmu, who scored after receiving a brilliant ball from Kalu Ogba.
Both the teams will rue their missed chances, which if scored could have shown a different score line on the board.
Playing an attacking game, The Red and Gold brigade could have doubled their score when Plaza sent in a bullet of a shot. But, to his disappoiment the shot only hit the bar.
Then, in the 67th minute danger man Dipanda Dicka put the Black Panthers ahead from a wonderfully laid through-ball from Jiten Murmu.
The goal looked to have brought the game to life again, as East Bengal who were now trailing Mohammedan Sporting by a goal looked to attack from all fronts but could not find the back of the net, as the Black Panthers stood firm. Then, with three minutes remaining Cavin Lobo who had come in as a substitute put Willis Plaza through on goal, which the Trindad and Tobago international calmly knocked in, to bring home a point.
Disappointed with the draw, their first in seven matches, head coach Khalid Jamil said, “We missed quite a few opportunities (three shots by East Bengal footballers hit the cross piece) but then these are all part of the game. Today wasn’t our day as we could have surely found the net on another day. I am not here to complain about losing two points. They (Mohammedan) played a lot better today than us.”
With this draw both East Bengal and Mohun Bagan are now tied with the same points. But, East Bengal are ahead because of a superior goal difference. Both teams have two matches each to play, which includes the high-voltage derby match. In the end, it looks like the derby, which is final match of the season may go on to become the title decider of the campaign.
Jamil’s comments spark controversy
As if the draw against Mohammedan Sporting was not enough, Khalid Jamil got himself into trouble after venting out his frustration towards a Mohammedan Sporting club official while also getting into an argument with MLA Dipendu Biswas, who is a part of the Black Panthers this season.
The former Aizwal man was heard shouting at the club member questioning him, “Where was this display by your team against Mohun Bagan ?” according to reports from Xtratime.
The 40-year-old coach however, refused to comment on the issue, “I am not here to answer on what comments I made to anyone after the match. This is a post match press conference and I will be happy to answer questions only on the game,” he told the reporters after the match.
Meanwhile Mohammedan Sporting coach Biswajit Bhattacharya looked unsatisfied even after drawing against the best team of the league, as he felt that his team were deprived of a genuine penalty in the match, which could have earned them three full points. According to him, “We were stripped off a genuine penalty. I am proud of my players the way they played. We could have won the match easily had they not made a goal line save. I am frustrated with the scheduling of matches as we were forced to play three matches in a week.”