The Flaming Oranje started their I-League campaign with a defeat against the Red and Gold Brigade. The match was more like the story of two half’s in which the East Bengal came out with 3 points courtesy some good game play in the second half.
Sporting started the match on a high as they created almost 3 chances within the first 10 minutes. The pick of which was Ravanan’s missed chance from a close range which could have penned down a whole different script to this match. The first blood was drawn by the Oranje unit in the 29th minute which saw the brilliance of Odafa Okolie who on his own made the entire East Bengal defense come down on their knees to put Sporting ahead. Minutes later Odafa and Mahmoud combined well when the latter send in a dangerous cross from the right but failing to find the formers feet.
Sporting looked in sublime form as they kept creating a lot of chances, but couldn’t convert any. The game stood at 1 – 0 in favour of Sporting as both sides walked back into the tunnel.
Second half saw a completely different East Bengal side who came out with an intent. Mohammed Rafique and C S Sabeeth were handed the responsibility to send in the armour for Ranti Martins who rather had a quite first half. The trick immediately worked as East Bengal gained momentum and took the attack up to the Sporting end. Ranti Martins put things on level in the 67th minute as he manged to rise high enough to place a perfect ball from Do Dong Hyun past Arindam.
The turning point of the match by far was when the penalty shout from Sporting was turned down by the referee instead awarding Mahmoud a yellow card for his clash against the Rehenesh. Soon East Bengal capitalised on the lost momentum from Sporting to go ahead through Bikash Jairu who’s goal definitely will go down as the best of this match. Though Sporting tried to come back on track Ranti had other plans as his 81st minute goal put the last nail in the Flaming Oranje hopes. The match ended 3-1 in favour of East Bengal.
Coach Matues Costa categorically stated that “Had it been another day we would have got that penalty, the entire momentum was lost as that decision went against us. I have not watched the replays but from where I stood it was a penalty.”
“We at times start a bit slow.” Said the Gaffer with a grin. He also mentioned “I belive in our lads, we have the quality and experience in the squad to turn such results around. We have proved it earlier and will do it again.”
Biswajit Bhattacharjee who was the happier among the lot stated “We had some problems in the first half but we identified our shortcomings and adjusted accordingly in the second.” He signed off by saying “The boys have done a fantastic job, this victory is for our fans back there.”