AFC Cup 2013 Semi Final 1st Leg: Kuwait SC vs East Bengal Review

AFC Cup 2013 Semi Final 1st Leg
Al Kuwait Sports Club Stadium, Kuwait City
Kuwait SC 4-2 Kingfisher East Bengal
KSC: Issam Jemaa(17th,33rd), Waleed Jumah(31st), Chedi Hammami(48th)
KEB: Uga Okpara(66th), Lalrindika Ralte(88th)

A inspiring display in the last two quarters of second half after a very rusty display in the first half meant East Bengal are still with a chance to have a claim at the dream finale of AFC Cup 2013. The first half was not to talk much about for the visitors except for Chidi Edeh's golden opportunity to get his name on the score-sheet when he and James Moga linked up to create a great chance but the Nigerian could not properly apply the finishing touch. Such was the class of Kuwait SC that East Bengal team looked like chasing shadows in the first half as Kuwait SC rode on Tunisian International Issam Jemaa's brace while Waleed Jumah also got his name on the scoreboard. Kuwait SC led the Red and Golds by a heavy 3-0 margin.

Lalrindika Ralte's fantastic substitute appearance
changed the game on its head,
Picture Courtesy: feverpitch
More frustrating moments were yet to come for the few East Bengal spectators present at the Al Kuwait Sports Club Stadium as a howler from Gurpeet Singh Sandhu left Chedi Hammami with an open net to score from point blank range, now the scoreline read 4-0 and back in home, all the Indian Football fans feared worse. Minutes after that, two changes made by Marcos Falopa changed the game on its head. First it was the classy Lalrindika Ralte followed by an equally impressive Cavin Lobo. Both did not take much time to make their presence felt at the battle-ground as East Bengal regained composure. Lalrindika tried his luck from distance on a couple of occasions and his shots missed the target not by much. It was Dika's pin point corner which saw Uga Okpara score for the visitor via a glancing header of which any centre half could be proud of. The Kuwait SC players looked to have drained out after the early storm and East Bengal were reluctant to leave the scoreline as it is, and several times they went close. One such moment saw Cavin Lobo snatching the ball from a Kuwait SC player and having a try at the goal from outside the ball after skillfully creating space for the shot, but his shot went just over the bar. James Moga could count unlucky with few of the off-side decisions going against him despite the South Sudan striker being onside and being in good position to have a chance to decrease the margin. On the 88th minute, Lalrindika Ralte showed his class as his trickery down the right saw him get past two opponent players and placing a fierce shot at the roof of the net. The goal meant East Bengal were left with a quite possible task to make it to the grand finale especially with the 2 away goals. All they now need is a 2-0 victory at their home, and with the support they have back in Kolkata and from rest of India, one can only feel that there is a more than a ray of hope for Kingfisher East Bengal. East Bengal have all to play for in the second leg. 
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About Debraj Banerjee

Hi, I am Debraj Banerjee from Adra, West Bengal. A keen follower of Indian football and always an optimist that the game will get the recognition it truely deserves. What we ask from you is your support and one day the dream might turn true. Fingers crossed for Indian football. Cheers!

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