It will 13 years without a national league title for East Bengal as a 1-0 win at the hands of DSK Shivajians has taken them out of the title equation with two rounds to go.
In pole position with six games to go and first in the table, the Lal Holud have lost their last four league games and now find themselves six points behind both Mohun Bagan and Aizawl and with two games to play, cannot overtake them as they have an inferior head-to-head record when compared to both the teams.
Still reeling from their derby defeat at the hands of Mohun Bagan, East Bengal paid the price for a shaky start by conceding in the 28th minute when an unmarked Jerry Mawihmingthanga turned in Spanish forward Juan Quero’s cross. The second half saw visiting goalkeeper Subrata Paul denying East Bengal a number of times to come back into the game.
Trevor Morgan made five changes to the side that lost the derby: T.P. Rehenesh, Robert Lalthlamuana, Romeo Fernandes, the suspended Willis Plaza and Wedson Anselme made way for Subhashish Roy Chowdhury, Jackichand Singh, Bikash Jairu, Chris Payne and Robin Singh in the starting XI.
The visitors looked the sharper side in the opening exchanges with Jerry heading wide early on. The diminutive player was not denied much longer as Shivajians took the lead heaping further misery on East Bengal in the 29th minute. A wonderfully weighed floated cross by Juan Quero found Jerry unmarked inside the area, the midfielder heading in with ease.
Paul did not allow East Bengal to level in the 33rd minute, pulling off a double save to deny Rowlin Borges and Bikash Jairu.
Trevor Morgan injected Wedson Anselme in place of Ruidas at the start of the second period for the elusive goal as Kingfisher East Bengal created a flurry of chances. Wedson set up Rahul Bheke whose shot as parried over by an alert Paul.
Payne was at the heart of the Red and Golds’ next move as the Aussie’s first attempt was cleared on the line by Bosnia and Herzegovina defender Sasa Kolunija and then Paul latched onto the rebound.
Subhashish halted Shivajians from extending their lead soon after, holding on to a Jerry header after the teenager combined well with Seityasen Singh.
Romeo Fernandes came in place of Jairu as Morgan went for the kill with time running out. Wedson saw his low drive saved acrobatically by Paul as East Bengal crashed to another defeat.
East Bengal 0 lose to DSK Shivajians 1 (Jerry Mawihmingthanga)
Mumbai FC 0 draw with Chennai City 0