Eight in Eight for East Bengal as they clinch the Title vs Local Rivals!

Vrinda Chopra  |  Calcutta Football League  |  1 Year Ago

In an entertaining derby game, the Red and Gold brigade clinched their 8th Calcutta Football League (CFL) title against the Mariners, in a 2-2 draw.



East Bengal starting XI: Luis Barreto (GK); Samad Ali Mullick, Gurwinder Singh, Carlyle Mitchell, Lalramchullova; Laldanmawia Ralte, Mahmoud Al Amna, Mohammed Rafique, Nikhil Poojary; Willis Plaza, Gabriel Fernandes



Mohun Bagan starting XI: Shilton Paul (GK); Arijit Bagui, Eze Kingsley, Kinshuk Debnath, Ricky Lallawmawma; Chesterpaul Lyngdoh, Raynier Fernandes, Shilton D'Silva, Azharuddin Mullick; Ansumana Kromah, Stephane Bayi Kamo



The match saw four goals being netted – two in each half. The drama unfolded when the referee pointed to the penalty spot twice in the game and intensified further reached to his pocket to raise the red card – twice! The pendulum of the CFL Premier Division title battle swung in full swing, with all its swiftness and hostility during the course of ninety minutes at the Kanchenjungha Stadium yesterday. At the final whistle, East Bengal continued their supremacy in the local league undamaged for the eighth season running following the draw against Mohun Bagan.



Both clubs ended their respective seasons with twenty three points in nine games each, on the table. However, Khalid Jamil's men wrapped the evening courtesy their higher goal difference (+21 against +15). Though these were sheer figures and what extended on the field was far beyond numbers and full of drama.



Needing a necessary victory to end a “jinx” – in the words of their coach, Shankarlal Chakraborty, Mohun Bagan displayed more perseverance and elegance during the game – taking the early leads twice in both the halves. East Bengal had to rally every time, before relaxing for a minimum draw against the rivals.



Azharuddin Mallick made a mark within four minutes into the kick off, although he had some help with his rival team’s defender who was guilty of shoving the ball inside the net instead of clearing it past his line. Mallick also found the back of the net during the clubs’ previous meeting five months ago, as a part of the I-League (a 2-1 win for Mohun Bagan). East Bengal did not delay their response to cancel out Bagan’s lead and found a ray of hope to get right back into the game only two minutes from the half time whistle through Laldanmawia Ralte.



Both the teams walked back to the dressing rooms with the scores level at 1-1 by the end of the first half. Cue the drama – the second half came with a lot of involvement of the referee, Ranjit Bakshi. In the span of fifteen minutes, Bakshi pointed to the spot twice after Mitchell fouled Kamo Bayi inside the box, only four minutes into the second half. The opportunity was converted in a very calm manner by Ansumana Kromah who put Bagan in the driving seat again. The match saw the next turn of events when Raynier committed a mistimed tackle on Ralte and Mr Bakshi signalled a spot kick for the second time – only on the other end of the field. Syrian, Al Amna sent the Bagan keeper the wrong way to find the equaliser for East Bengal, which put them right back into the game.



With both teams belligerent to keep pace with the passion of the match, the evening soon took an ugly turn. Goal scorer, Surabuddin Mallick was booked only after five minutes of his arrival in the second half, for a hard tackle on the Bagan captain, Kingshuk Debnath. Yet, Debnath, who had already registered his name in the books of the ref during the first half, retorted with a vengeance, kicking his challenger in the face which quite deservingly led to his expulsion in the 82nd minute. East Bengal were barely able to to relish their numerical benefit over Bagan as Surabuddin earned his second yellow with a redundant foul on Bikramjit Singh two minutes after the sending off of the Mariners’ captain.



In the end, Mohun Bagan vacated the field wondering what could have been had they converted those chances in the opening minutes of the game. Honours were ultimately mutual but it was East Bengal who marched home with the glorious trophy.




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