East Bengal registered an emphatic 4-2 comeback win over hosts TRAU FC in the I-League in Imphal on Sunday.
The visitors were trailing by a solitary goal in the first half after TRAU drew first blood through Princewill Emeka in the 18th minute.
East Bengal, who lacked steam in the first half, came back strongly in the final 45 minutes of the game as they struck in quick intervals.
Jaime Colado’s 52nd-minute goal restored parity for the visitors who did press hard for a lead.
They soon found success punching in three quick goals through Kassim Aidara in the 67th minute, Brandon in the 69th minute and Marcos Espada’s penalty conversion in the 76th minute.
TRAU pulled back a consolation goal through Patrick Uche who converted a penalty awarded to the hosts in the 85th minute.
As expected East Bengal started on an attacking note from the first minute. They tried making an attempt within the first two minutes when captain Aidara’s long ranger landed safely into the hands of TRAU’s Shayan Roy.
Soon after, TRAU forged forward with an inch-perfect cross from Joel Sunday to Mayowa, who could not find the back of the net, thanks to a quick reflex from Red and Golds’ keeper Laldanmawia Ralte between the post.
East Bengal’s counter-attacks lacked steam and their lacklustre defence soon gave way when on a counter-attack a long cross from TRAU’s Dinesh to Emeka inside the box saw the Nigerian scoring with a masterful header.
The game thereafter saw TRAU exploiting the visitors to the hilt while pressing hard to consolidate their lead but East Bengal ensured the hosts could not find success in their attempts.
Throughout the first 45 minutes, East Bengal looked disorganised in their attempts to secure an equaliser. But things changed dramatically after the break.
Aizawl snatch point
Defending champions Chennai City FC played out a 1-1 draw to share the spoils with Aizawl FC in the I-League in Coimbatore on Sunday.
Veteran Katsumi Yusa broke the deadlock in the business end of the first half before Rochharzela brought the visitors back to level terms with a well-converted penalty in the second half.
Both coaches made three changes apiece.
Chennai gaffer Akbar Nawas reinstated Pravitto Raju and Jishnu Balakrishnan to his midfield along with Varun Mathur who made way for Rohit Mirza.
Aizawl boss Stanley Rozario recalled Juuko Richard Kassaga to his backline and opted for a different line of control upfront, naming Jonathan Lalrawngbala and Justice Morgan in his starting eleven.
The first goal-bound opportunity fell the way of the hosts in the ninth minute.
Rohit Mirza made a good run down the right and after he was closed down, Mirza squared the ball across just in time and found Vijay, who went for goal but was denied by a fantastic save from Aizawl keeper Zothanmawia.
Aizawl made good use of the ball and lurked forward with intent, keeping the Chennai backline on their toes. Alfred Jaryan’s cross-field delivery found the overlapping run of Joe Zoherliana who played it across goal with three red shirts lurking but Roberto Eslava’s timely intervention averted danger on the occasion.
Coach Nawas made an early first-half substitution, bringing on Syed Suhail Pasha for Rohit Mirza in the 38th minute, and only two minutes after his introduction, Chennai bore fruits of their persistence.
An inviting delivery from Fito found Pasha, who headed across goal to the path of Katsumi and the Japanese playmaker soared the highest to head it past Zothanmawia in goal and give Chennai the lead going into half time.
Matt Veron brought out an excellent save from Nauzet Garcia Santana on the other end, who dived full-stretch to his right to keep out the Argentine’s venomous strike from outside the box in the dying seconds of stoppage time.
Aizawl didn’t take long to find their equaliser in the second half and they had Eslava’s reckless challenge on Justice Morgan to thank for, which earned them a penalty in the 54th minute.
Rochharzela made no mistake from 12 yards and registered his fourth goal this season.
Four minutes later, Chennai were denied by the woodwork after Katsumi had latched onto yet another delightful delivery from Fito but his effort this time, to his agony, ricocheted off the near post.