By Debabrata Majumder
KOLKATA: East Bengal overcame Tollygunge Agragami 1-0 to register their fifth consecutive victory in the ongoing CFL Premier Division – A at Barasat Stadium on Sunday.
The all impotant goal came in the 73rd minute through defender Calum Angus which sellted the evenly contested fixture in East Bengal’s favour.
Heading into the tie, East Bengal gaffer Trevor Morgan made three changes from the side that edge United SC 4-3 last week. Luis Barreto replaced Dibyendu Sarkar under the bar while Samad Ali Mallick and Mehtab Hossain came at the expense of Gurwinder Singh and Nikhil Poojary.
Tollygunge started the match with a lot of intensity compared to their stronger opponents. Tollygunge had the first chance to take the lead in the 10th minute when striker Alfred Jaryan attempted a long range shot which was denied by the crossbar.
Around the 15th minute mark defender Kareem Omolaja Nurain tried his luck from a free-kick but the Nigerian directed his effort off the target.
Meanwhile, East Bengal also created some good moves in patches. The strike pair of Somide Adelaja and Jiten Murmu made some attempts on Tollygunge goal but never really get a grip on proceedings as their moves fizzled once they reach near the rival box.
East Bengal had the only scoring opportunity of the first-half through midfielder Mohammad Rafique whose attempted long-ranger missed the target by a few inches in the 35th minute.
Thereafter, both sides engaged in an end-to-end battle but could not break the deadlock as the first session ended scoreless.
East Bengal looked better in the second half, when the Korean forward Do Dong Hyun entered the field in the 58th minute replacing Adelaja.
Following Dong’s introduction the East Bengal the forward line moved with much cohesion. Tollygunge, on the other hand, looked to keep compact and hit their rivals on the counter attack.
Having created a handful of half chances, East Bengal almost got the breakthrough in the 65th minute but defender Arnab Mondal failed to keep his header on traget off a Mehtab Hossain corner.
The constant attacks from East Bengal bore fruit in the 73rd minute, when Mehtab sent in a inch perfect cross from a right sided corner and Angus made no mistake to head home the opener.
Soon after conceding, Tollygunge coach Ranjan Chowdhury brought in striker Joel Sunday in place of Kareem to give more thrust in the attack. But the East Bengal defense did well to held on their narrow adavantage.
After this win East Bengal moved up to the summit of the CFL satndings with 15 points from 5 games while Tollygunge Agragami remain at sixth with 7 points from as many games.
East Bengal XI: Luis Barreto (GK), Samad Ali Mallick, Calum Angus, Arnab Mondal, Narayan Das, Abinash Ruidas (Prohlad Roy – 59′), Mehtab Hossain, Lalrindika Ralte (Bikash Jairu – 88′), Somide Adelaja (Dong Hyun Do – 58′), Jiten Murmu.
Tollygunge Agragami XI: Kunzang Bhutia (GK), Phoolchand Hembram, Kareem Omolaja Nurain (Joel Sunday – 75′), Gurtej Singh, Shanku Guha, Surabuddin Mallick, Santosh Oraon (Karan Atwal – 74′), Rakesh Masih, Palsang Lama, Raja Das, Alfred Jayran.