East Bengal begin League campaign on winning noteSeptember 26th, 2008 - 11:37 pm ICT by IANS
Kolkata, Sep 26 (IANS) East Bengal reaped the fruits of a splendid first-half display to prevail over local challengers Chirag United 3-1 in their ONGC I-League opener at Barasat near here Friday.Overlapping defender Sur kumar Singh, the club’s Ghanaian catch Yousuf Yakubu and the in-form Sunil Chettri found the mark for the winners, who overwhelmingly dominated their rivals in the first 45 minutes.
Leading 3-0 at half-time, the red and yellow side switched into a defensive mode in the second session, and Chirag used the leeway to launch several raids and narrowed the scoreline through Shankar Oraon 12 minutes from close.
The initial stages of the game saw East Bengal attacking with gusto as Chirag stopper Arnab Mondal had to rush in to make a goalline clearance after Chettri took a sortie in the sixth minute.
The one-way traffic saw Brazilian Edmilson Marques set up Chettri, but the latter finished wayward.
East Bengal went ahead in the 12th minute when Edmilson again did the spadework and released for Sur Kumar, who unleashed a brilliant shot that went in off the hands of Chirag goalkeeper Arindam Ghosh.
The three-time champions doubled the lead six minutes later, as Yakubu scored the first goal for his new team by nodding home Renedy Singh centre from the left flank.
Chirag’s miseries were further compounded as Arnab made a faux pas in the 27th minute that saw East Bengal go up 3-0. Trying to cut out an aerial pass by Edmilson, Mondal headed towards his own goal, and Chettri rushed in to get to the ball, before placing it to the right of Arindam. Chettri’s spirited display earned him the man of the match award.
The formidable city club looked a pale shadow of their first-half brilliance in the later session, with the players looking fatigued and the midfield putting up a lacklustre show.
Chirag, playing without any foreigners, controlled the game and pulled one back in the 78th minute. Gouranga Dutta passed from the right, and Oraon cut in and let loose a swerving left footer that completely flummoxed East Bengal custodian Subrata Pal before ramming into the net.
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