KOLKATA: East Bengal pulled off a scrappy win-from-behind Thursday, recovering from one goal down to beat Pathachakra Club 2-1 in the Calcutta Football League.
Pathachakra gave up the opportunity to carry the day after Jagannath Oraon had put them into the lead in the 40th minute as goals by Brandon Vanlalremdika (45+1st) and Mahmoud Al Amna (85th) proved to be enough for East Bengal to register their sixth win of the competition at East Bengal Ground.
After starting the match with two changes to the squad, East Bengal broke free in the 3rd minute through Surabuddin Mallick, who came at the expense of a injured Suhair VP. However, the winger ended his solo run tamely when missed the target from close range.
Brandon and Jobby Justin combined well in the left for East Bengal and caused a few problems for the Pathachakra defense. They duo together created at least three chances in the opening quarter.
Pathachakra, who were good on counter attacks, managed a few opportunities, with Joel Sunday missing the target by a whisker, and Tanmoy Kundu forcing East Bengal custodian Luis Barreto into a fingertip save from a well taken volley.
Meanwhile, East Bengal had another splendid opportunity midway through the half, as the Red and Golds saw a powerful shot from Laldanmawia Ralte blocked by the Pathachakra keeper Subham Roy.
However, it was Pathachakra who surged into the lead against the run of play. Sunday made a brilliant turn outside the box to fool defender Mehtab Singh before releasing the ball for Jagannath to slot into an empty goal.
Nonetheless, East Bengal responded almost immediately with Brandon scoring the equalizer. Subham fumbled with the ball which allowed the former Aizawl FC winger to make a spectacular finish from a tight angle at the brink of half time.
The second half was a similar story as East Bengal continued to press from the very beginning. Having had a few half chances in the opening ten minutes, East Bengal had another close chance in the 56th minute.
Surabuddin controlled a throw in just beside the goal-line on the right and turned well to deceive his marker and create space inside the box. But the attempt that followed was totally wayward from close range.
Midway through the half, it was Surabuddin who once again had a great chance. Laldanmawia timed his run well to control a through pass on the right and sent in a dangerous low ball into the eight-yard box. The cross was cleared but the second ball fell for Surabuddin who kept it alive on the left but his attempt too was blocked.
At the other end, Pathachakra were restricted to a handful of counter attacks but the East Bengal defense led by Gurwinder Singh stayed firm thwarting all attempts.
Needing a goal, East Bengal brought in Gabriel Fernandes and Cavin Lobo but nothing seemed to be working for East Bengal and just when the game appeared to be ending with the scoreline unchanged the Khalid Jamil-coached side broke the dead-lock.
In the 85th minute East Bengal took the lead which later turned to be decisive after striker Al Amna was brought down in the box by defender Victor Kamhuka with a reckless push from behind close to Pathachakra goalmouth.
Referee Tanmoy Dhar quickly pointed to the spot and Al Amna struck the winner with a well-placed penalty.