Drab duel ends in a shootout
Hopefully, the I-League will not see matches as drab as Tuesday's Super Cup tie between Salgaocar and East Bengal that required a penalty-shootout for a result, the first in the competition since 2003 when Mahindra United beat the red-and-gold brigade. EB eventually won 9-7. Tomojit Basu reports. I League Prizessports Updated: Oct 19, 2011 02:39 IST
East Bengal, playing a 4-3-1-2, commanded proceedings in the first half. The midfield combination of Reisangmei Vashum, Sushant Matthew and Khanthang Paite looking fluid with playmaker Penn Orji skipping around just ahead. Alan Gow, the Kolkata giants' Scottish forward was easily the most impressive figure on the field, his nifty runs and sublime turns eliciting admiration from the Ambedkar handful.
Gow's 12th-minute freekick from the edge of the box, awarded after he had been brought down Rocus Lamare, troubled Salgaocar custodian Karanjit Singh who managed to punch it out. The lanky forward was instrumental twelve minutes later in setting up East Bengal's best chance of the half.
A quick run past left-back Biswajit Saha forced centre-back Irungbam Metei to vacate his zone in order to stop the incursion. Gow squared for an unmarked Orji in the box and despite having sufficient time and space to calmly slot past Karanjit, the Nigerian struck it straight at the keeper.
Salgaocar, as a team, seemed peripheral with forward Edeh Chidi and attacking midfielder Ryuji Sueoka left isolated up front. The I-League champions would have thanked the higher powers that East Bengal's attempted strikes probably halted the steady traffic behind the stadium.
Onto a second-half that began with promise, for Salgaocar anyway. Tomba Singh, Lamare and Ishfaq Ahmed wrested control of the midfield with Sueoka's darting runs troubling the East Bengal backline for the first time through the evening. However, within ten minutes, the match was reduced to mundane derby in the centre of the pitch.