East Bengal drive home 2-0 past Viva Kerala


Barasat (West Bengal) : Kingfisher East Bengal opened their ONGC I-League campaign defeating Viva Kerala 2-0 here Sunday.

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Though the hosts dominated the match, they had to wait till 73rd minute for their first goal. Substitute Asim Biswas set up the opportunity with a cross from left and Edmilson tapped the ball home to a thunderous rapture from the crowd.

Biswas played a part in the second goal as well. He initiated the move from the middle-third, passed the ball to Dipankar Roy in the right flank and the latter sent a floater to D’Cunha who finished with his trademark left-footer from 30 yards: a goal to remember in a mediocre match.

A depleted East Bengal without goalkeeper Subrata Pal and centreback M. Suresh started cautiously. Coach Subrata Bhattacharya started with South African McDonald Mukansi as Edmilson’s partner upfront. Mukansi, however, was a flop show and upset the rhythm in the attacking-third.

He not only failed in supporting Edmilson, but also showed poor soccer skills. The red-and-golds sprang into life once Biswas replaced Mukansi. His combination with his Brazilian partner was too much to handle for the Viva defence.

The Kerala team pinned their hopes on Nigerian Babatunde and Ghanaian striker Wisdom Abbey whenever they came on counters.

But the East Bengal midfield, led by Man of the Match Jayanta Sen, ensured that both were bottled up. It took the sting out of Viva attack as they failed to create any clear opportunity.

East Bengal, on the other hand, should have added at least one more to their tally. In the 78th minute, Viva custodian M.V. Nelson could only manage a fingertip to an Ashim Biswas curler. The ball hit the cross bar and fell nicely for Edmilson who ballooned over from close.