I-League: East Bengal Hammer Shillong Lajong

Saturday, 9 December 2017|Abhishek Mukherjee
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East Bengal bagged their first win of the I-League 2017-18 campaign as they thumped in five goals against Shillong Lajong at the Barasat Stadium, Kolkata on Saturday.

Mahmoud Al Amna (14), Eduardo Ferreira (19), L. Ralte (52,65) and Y. Katsumi (79 pen) scored for the home side before Samuel Lalmuanpuia (87) pulled back one consolation goal in the dying moments of the match. 

After failing to secure a win the previous two matches in the I-League, the pressure was mounting on the Kolkata giants to revive their campaign. Khalid Jamil, who was also feeling the heat, opted to hand experienced campaigners Cavin Lobo and Arnab Mondal their first start of the season while misfiring striker Willis Plaza spearheaded the attack. 

Plaza's nightmare form continued when the striker missed a clear goal scoring opportunity in the 10th minute after Al Amna played in a low ball from inside the box. Minutes later Al Amna took matters into his own hand when he completely destroyed Lajong's Laurence Doe with his trickery before unleashing a powerful right-footed shot which took a deflection of Rakesh Pradhan and sailed into the back of the net. 

East Bengal reaped the rewards of their physicality in the 19th minute when Eduardo Ferreira rose above his marker to head home a Katsumi Yusa corner kick. 

The two early goals left the team from Meghalaya bamboozled, as they never looked like recovering after that. 

East Bengal looked like a team on a mission- a mission to resurrect their I-League campaign. Even after going 2-0 up, they refused to take their foot off the accelerator. 

Lajong again crumbled to East Bengal's sustained pressure in the 52nd minute, when Amna's defence-splitting through pass was calmly finished off by Laldanmawia Ralte. Ralte again scored his second of the evening in the 65th minute taking advantage of a comical defensive error from Lajong. 

Danmawia was proving too hot to handle for the North Eastern side as he was brought down inside the box in the 78th minute. The resulting penalty was buried home by Katusmi Yusa. 

Lajong managed to pull a consolation goal back in the dying moments of the match, through a sublime curling free-kick by Samuel but it was all too little too late. The match ended 5-1 in favor of East Bengal.  

With the help of this win, East Bengal moved to the third spot in the I-League table having garnered 4 points from 3 matches. The Red and Gold Brigade will now lock horns with Churchill Brothers on December 16.