I-League: Jamie Colado helps East Bengal return to winning ways
Spaniard Jamie Colado’s 48th minute goal helped East Bengal beat Indian Arrows 1-0 in the I-League but what could pique coach Alejandro Menendez Garcia is left-back Manoj Mohammad’s red card in the 90th minute.
Mohammad will miss East Bengal next match, against Mohun Bagan on January 27. Given that an under-22 player must start, his suspension could force Garcia to alter the team’s balance.
After 12 games for both, East Bengal, who lost 1-2 to Chennai City in the last round, moved to 22 points and Indian Arrows stayed on 13. This was Indian Arrows’ eighth loss with 11 of the 15 goals they have conceded coming in the second half.
Indian Arrows weren’t overawed but lacked composure while playing in East Bengal’s half. “The boys are brave and played with high intensity,” said Garcia. “It took the boys some time to understand the level but they are evolving tactically and from the game against Real Kashmir, I am happy with how they are coping. Barring a lapse in concentration in the second half today, I am happy with the performance,” said Indian Arrows’ coach Floyd Pinto here on Friday.
Garcia would have been anything but with East Bengal’s lack of fluency in the first half. There were moments when that could have changed but it didn’t because Jobby Justin headed straight to goalkeeper Prabhsukan Gill in the 28th minute and Kassim Aidara’s long-ranger thudded into the upright six minutes later. “We lacked pace in the first half,” said Garcia.
He replaced Laldanmawia Ralte for Brandon Vanlalremdika in a like-for-like change and though the wide right was not involved in the goal, it did come from his side of the pitch. And immediately after Colado couldn’t reach a ball from the right forwarded by Justin.
For the goal, Justin turned and met a delivery swung by Mohammad and his push back fell in a pocket of space between an Indian Arrows defender and Colado. The ball pinged off Colado into goal as both struck their legs out.
East Bengal kept the development side --- there were seven players in Pinto’s starting list who took part in the under-17 World Cup; it became nine when Rahim Ali and Suresh Singh came on in the second half --- pegged in their own half after that.
Colado’s left-foot push on the turn in the 64th minute didn’t miss by much and then Justin’s heavy touch after beating Gill denied them the insurance goal. As it did when Colado failed to get to the end of a Justin pass.
The positive from all this perhaps was Antonio Dovale looking like he is settling down. It was the new Spanish midfielder who had sliced a pass for Justin in the inside-right channel in the 64th minute and had found the forward again 20 minutes later; the move breaking down because Colado couldn’t reach.
Mohammad’s second booking came because the match officials felt he hadn’t waited for their permission to get back to the pitch. “It was a mistake of the match officials,” said Garcia. It meant that for the second time against Indian Arrows, East Bengal ended with a player short.
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