I-League: East Bengal thump Indian Arrows to stay on top
AGENCIES NEW DELHI, 2nd Jan:
An all-out aggressive East Bengal blanked Indian Arrows 2-0 in a one-sided I-League contest at the Ambedkar Stadium here on Tuesday.
Attacking midfielder Mahmoud Al Amna opened the scoring for East Bengal with a superb curling free-kick in the 13th minute. Japanese star Katsumi Yusa doubled the lead with another excellent finish in the 16th minute.
The victory saw East Bengal increase their lead at the top of the table with 17 points from eight matches, opening up a four point gap with second placed Minerva Punjab FC.
India Arrows, on the other hand, remained at the seventh spot with seven points in their kitty.
East Bengal started the proceedings on an attacking note, asking constant questions from the Indian Arrows defence which was left clueless time and again.
Yusa, who was the key man for East Bengal in the midfield, controlling the ball well and creating chances in the initial minutes, was brought down by Arrows defender Boris Singh Thangjam on a couple of occasions. However, that did not change East Bengal's approach as they continued to dominate possession and made good use of their superior experience.
In the process, Yusa was brought down by a silly challenge by Arrows midfielder Abhishek Halder at the edge of the penalty box in the 12th minute which gifted East Bengal a free kick.
Halder also received the first yellow card of the game for his rash challenge.
Taking charge of the free-kick, Syrian midfielder Mahmoud Al Amna made no mistake to curl the ball into the far corner, out of the reach of debutant goalkeeper Prabhsukhan Singh Gill to give East Bengal the lead. The game, which was played more inside the Indian Arrows half, saw its second goal for East Bengal coming from an unmarked Yusa who curled the ball into the far post from just inside the penalty box.
The second-half started with Indian Arrows coach Luis Norton de Matos replacing Halder with midfielder Suresh Singh Wangjam.
The hosts tried to adopt a different approach, combining well and enjoying more ball possession inside the opposition half unlike in the first period.
The dying minutes saw the ball rolling from one end to another in search of the final whistle without any clear chances being created by both sides.