After the fourth spot finish in the previous edition of Hero I-league, Quess East Bengal started their new and probably the last I-League campaign yesterday on a high note, defeating NEROCA FC away at the Khuman Lampak Stadium in Manipur. Here we have churned out the five major talking points from the game.
1. Presence of Enrique Esqueda :
Enrique Esqueda was brought in the August transfer window to fill up the foreign striker quota by East Bengal coach Alejandro’s advice. The 4.5 crs priced Mexican striker showed his class via converting a spot kick and a brilliant jab from the 6 yard box. In previous I-League seasons, East Bengal lacked the presence of a striker who can convert chances. Enrique has the potential to fulfil this void. He capitalised on a miss header from Aryn Williams and lobbed it past the NEROCA goalie and scored a penalty. It could have been his hattrick if he scored from a long ranger just before half time.
2. Rock solid central defence :
Spanish Borja Gomez Perez and Costa Rican World Cupper Jhonny Acosta provided much needed stability in central defence for Quess East Bengal. Apart from a cross in the first half and some poor crosses, NEROCA FC strikers were not able to get past these two talisman. Jhonny provided covering and Borja was there with his aereal abilities to clear the ball.
3. Wingbacks and halfs :
Two wing backs Chullova and Manoj Mahammad worked tirelessly for 90 minutes. Subhas Singh, the NEROCA striker was not able to get past him for a single time in the whole match. Chullova who was not in form in this edition of CFL has seemingly regained his fitness and form. The academy product Manoj Mahammad was excellent yesterday as well. He provided two goal line saves and covering for the stoppers.
4. Katsumi injury :
After a season with East Bengal, Katsumi Yusa joined NEROCA FC just before this edition of I-League. He was working tirelessly until the injury happened and the strategy had to be reshaped by Manuel Ratamero Fraile. This was a major setback for them from which they never recovered in the match.
5. No Plan B :
After the departure of Gift Raikhan, Spanish Manuel Retamero Fraile took charge of NEROCA FC and his start was not that he was expecting . His team lacked plan B after the injury of Katsumi Yusa. The Spaniard kept focusing on long areal balls which were cleared easily by the defenders of East Bengal. Even after conceding the early goal in 2nd half, his team did not push enough for a goal or throw more bodies forward or changed any strategy .