The Red and Golds return to winning ways against the developmental side of AIFF- Indian Arrows on Friday. Spanish withdrawal forward Jamie Santos doubled his tally for the season as his side edged past the Blue Colts. His 48th minute strike was the main factor that separated the two sides at the end of ninety minutes.
Talk Sports 24×7 analyses the full match and picks out the 5 main talking points of the match:
1) East Bengal defense just doesn’t surrender:
The Arrows side had nothing to lose from the tournament but lots of experience to gain. Yet they maintained their positive defensive shape and then went on attack, winning a few balls in the midfield. Pouring in crosses from the two flanks and long balls from the midfield, Arrows did put the Red and Golds’ defense under pressure but the two defenders- Jhonny Acosta Zamora and Borja Gomez Perez stood like a wall that would just not break under any circumstances. This was a must-win match for the Kolkata side if they had to stay in the Championship race and the defense did amazingly well to stay on course.
2) East Bengal felt Dika’s absence in the midfield:
The homeside could feel the absence of Lalrindika Ralte- who has been the heart of the team in the middle of the park. He was forced to sit out after being shown his fourth yellow card of the season against Chennai City FC away from home, the other three times being against Chennai City and Gokulam Kerala at home, and Aizawl away. Ralte has been putting crosses into the box and pushing in through balls all throughout the season. East Bengal lacked that creativity in the midfield that did not require too much passing in the park and could turn a ball dangerous just from one kick from this man. As a result, East Bengal had to build up play from deep with Borja, Acosta and Kassim playing a triangle and drawing out Arrows players from their box. They lacked creativity to penetrate into the final third and suffered the whole match.
3) Lack of experience for the Blue Colts:
The Indian Arrows squad lacks in experience which was prominent throughout the game. They were playing erratic passes and at the end losing the ball in areas where they could have just marched forward and take a try on goal or draw a foul. Arrows defender Jitendra Singh said at the pre-match conference, “We have come here to add points to our tally and we will give our everything to get three points”, but it turned out that Pinto has prepared his team for a draw. Their counter attacks were well but being an inexperienced side could not capitalise from that.
4) Referring has been hampering the game from the start:
None of the two teams have been happy with any of the match conducting officials, be it referee Tejas Nagvenkar or assistants Melwin D’Costa and Parmeshwar Gope. Nagvenkar has been under pressure from the beginning of the match which was filled with fouls from the start. But a referee should keep his calm and concentrate on the game, whereas Nagvenkar lost his calm and made many wrong decisions- awarding East Bengal a free kick which should have gone Arrows’ way, showing a yellow card to Jamie Santos Colado which should have been shown to Boris for attacking Colado in an off-the-ball incident. Assistants were a bit shaky too, awarding throws to the non-deserving team a few times and once awarding a corner which should have been a goal kick. AIFF should look into these matters and make amendments so that referring doesn’t hamper a game in the future.
5) Manoj Mohammed to miss the Kolkata derby:
The 19 year-old no nonsense Red and Golds’ left back is set to miss the next match against arch rivals Mohun Bagan. He received a yellow card opposing his high boot on Arrows’ forward Rahim Ali on the 85th minute. Later in the 90+2nd minute, he had to be sent out of the playing area due to an injury, and was spotted on the field in the 90+4th minute without the referee permitting him to get into the play. Although he protested that the linesman allowed him to enter into the game’s proceedings, the linesman disagreed and the referee showed him to his second yellow of the game and sent him off.
He will be missing the derby, where he may be replaced by Lalram Chullova Pautu at left back and Samad Ali Mallick may slot into right back position.
Arrows stay on eighth with 13 points from as many games, while East Bengal move to the second spot with 22 points from 12 games, tied on points but ahead to Churchill Brothers and Real Kashmir on head to head.
Arrows next travel to Goa where Churchill Brothers host them at the Tilak Maidan on Saturday, 26th January, whereas the Red and Golds next face their city rivals Mohun Bagan in the historic Kolkata derby at the Salt Lake Yuvabharti Krirangan on Sunday, 27th January.