Emami East Bengal (EEB) became the second team of Super Saturday to finish on a high, getting the better of Mumbai City FC (MCFC) 4-3 in an exciting and thrilling Group B encounter of the 131st IndianOil Durand Cup, at the Kishore Bharati Krirangan (KBK) here in the city. In the first, Army Red had defeated Hyderabad FC 1-0 to exit the tournament on a high. Sumeet Passi and Cleiton Silva got two goals each for Emami East Bengal while Lallianzuala Chhangte had a brace for Mumbai City FC, where a crazy first half saw six of the seven goals being scored. Greg Stewart scored the other goal for Mumbai City FC.
The final game in the group between Rajasthan United FC (RUFC) and Indian Navy on Monday, September 05, 2022, will determine who among ATK Mohun Bagan and RUFC will take the second qualifying spot for the knockouts. It was a frantic start to the game with Mumbai City FC defender Gursimrat picking up a booking as early as the 7th minute of the game. In the 9th minute, Greg Stewart played Mandar Rao Desai down the left flank and his cross aimed at Pereyra Diaz rushing onto the near post had the Argentine almost sneak one past keeper Kamaljit Singh in the Emami East Bengal goal.
Cleiton Silva had his first shot on target in the 17th minute which Nawaz saved but seconds later Semboi Haokip snatched the ball in the middle of the Mumbai City FC half and played Jerry down the left just outside the box. The Mizo left wing-back drove in and delivered a cross which found Sumit Passi unmarked on the far post. His header back across the keeper found the target for Emami East Bengal’s first of the tournament. Passi had scored the own goal which brought his team down against arch-rivals ATK Mohun Bagan and it was a redemption of sorts.
Good things tend to come in pairs and minutes later Emami East Bengal was 2-0 up. Ahmed Jahouh fouled Cleiton Silva in a dangerous position just outside the box. The former Bengaluru player executed perfectly from the free-kick with a right-footed curler, which had Nawaz at full-stretch but still not able to keep it out. The Brazilian could have had his second just three minutes later as he broke through from just inside his own half with a blistering run past Mandar, but his angled right-footer missed the keeper as well as the right upright by a whisker.
It was a crazy 20 minutes after that which saw two goalkeeping blunders and four more goals being scored, one by the Red & Golds and three by the Islanders. Greg Stewart collected the ball in midfield and played Bipin down the right flank who, with his trademark run inside, crossed for Pereyra Diaz. The Argentine chested it on to Stewart who had followed the play and his crisp volley bulged the back of the Emami East Bengal net. Soon it was 3-1 as Cleiton began a move and played a give-and-go with countryman Alex Lima to find Sumit Passi on the right flank.
The India international’s attempt at a probable cross was directed at goal and Nawaz fumbled to see the ball go in. First, in the 36th minute, it was an attempted long ranger which Kamaljit misjudged, for the ball to find its target. Seven minutes later, Greg Stewart attempted a shot from distance as well. This time Kamaljit brought off a good save, but only managed to parry it towards an onrushing Bipin Singh, who cut back for Chhangte to blast it in on the turn with his left.
In between, Gursimrat had missed a free header from a Stewart corner in the 39th minute as he could not connect properly for Kamaljit to collect safely. It was a crazy end to the first half with both teams locked 3-3 but Mumbai City FC starting to get the upper hand. In comparison, the second half was an anti-climax with both teams getting into a battle of attrition and mostly half-chances coming each other’s way for the longest time. It was equal in the half with none willing to give an inch of space away.
Both the coaches made their changes as well. Emami East Bengal’s Stephen Constantine brought on Eliandro, Amarjit Kiyam, Sarthak Golui, and Himanshu Jangra, while Des Buckingham got in Vignesh and Gurkirat. But the deadlock remained. Till the 81st minute that is when Emami East Bengal finally broke through. It was off a counterattack started by Cleiton himself and he played Amarjit Kiyam down the left flank. The former under-17 India captain made ground with space and put in a cross which Nawaz could only get a hand on.
Both Eliandro and Cleiton were at hand, but the latter got to it first and stabbed the fourth and his second of the game, into the back of the net. This time, they managed to hold on to the joy of their supporters. Emami East Bengal thus finish with five points from their four games while Mumbai City FC with seven points have topped the group and qualified already. It was not only Emami East Bengal’s first win of the campaign but also the first time they had scored and they made it up by scoring all of four on the day.
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