One couldn’t possibly miss a beaming Philippe de Ridder nodding in appreciation when Syed Rahim Nabi almost scored the second and equalising goal for East Bengal.
Cut to the 85th minute and he was seen kicking a water bottle in rage when Al Qadsia escaped with the winner while Saumik Dey was lying flat on his face clutching his nose. These moments essentially encapsulated the swaying fortunes for the red-and-gold brigade in their AFC Cup Group D encounter on Wednesday.
Al Qadsia quickly realised the searing heat will affect their fitness but a quick burst of two goals ensured East Bengal were chasing the game from the second minute of the match.
East Bengal allowed the Kuwait team a free run and they obliged by pumping in two. The Royals’ wide midfielder Syrian Jehad Alhussein was all over the East Bengal defence and engaged Priyant Singh with a rasping shot from the top of the box. Singh parried it well but Bader Almotawaa lashed home off the rebound. It was Jehad’s turn to strike next and, set up by Khalaf Almutairi’s short through, the Syrian was bang on target. East Bengal Subash Singh pulled one back who took advantage of a miscommunication between the Al Qadsia goalkeeper and defender Nohayr Alshamari to latch on to Mehtab Hussain’s cross and stroll into goal. Yusif Yakubu then headed in the equaliser off a deflection from defender Fayez Alenezi’s heel after B. Beikhokhei took first aim after a solo run down the right. Bader then wound up the proceedings in 85th min.
Striker Odafe Okolie struck twice to guide I-League champions Churchill Brothers to a 2-1 win over Al Hilal of Yemen in the AFC Cup match in Sanaa on Wednesday.