A World Class Dika Strike brings joy to East Bengal at derby

Airtel i-League 2013-14
Mohun Bagan 0-1 East Bengal
EB: Laldindika Ralte(73rd)

A world class strike from India international Lalrindika Ralte gave East Bengal a 1-0 win over arch-rivals Mohun Bagan in the round 10 clash of the Airtel I-League at the Salt Lake Stadium on Sunday evening.
Chidi Edeh tries to get past Mohun Bagan defense

The season’s first big Kolkata derby produced very few goal scoring chances but Lalrindika’s moment of magic in the 73rd minute gave Armando Colaco a winning start as East Bengal coach.

This was the 306th edition of this historic fixture and it was witnessed by a crowd of more than 80,000 in an electrifying atmosphere.

The first real chance of the game fell to Mohun Bagan as skipper Odafa Okolie, who was playing in a deeper role, sent Eric Muranda clean through on goal with a lovely through pass but the Kenyan’s effort was well saved by Abhijit Mondal and Katsumi Yusa’s shot from the rebound was blocked by Arnab Mondal.

East Bengal were seeing more of the ball but struggling to break down a well ogranised Mohun Bagan backline with a header from Edeh Chidi being their only meaningful attempt and that too went off target.

The Red-and-Gold brigade’s best opportunity of the half came just a few minutes before the interval when Lalrindika’s lobbed through ball sent Ryuji Sueoka behind the Mohun Bagan defence but Shilton Paul came out well to save at the Japanese player’s feet.

It was the same pattern in the second half as East Bengal had plenty of possession but didn’t really trouble the Mohun Bagan defence. At the other end, Odafa had a golden opportunity to put his side in front but the Mohun Bagan captain’s header from a Pritam Kotal cross was straight at Abhijit Mondal even though he was unmarked.

Both coaches made a substitution each to change the complexion of the game as the young and exciting Ram Malik replaced CS Sabeeth for Mohun Bagan while Colaco brought James Moga in place of Cavin Lobo.

Worryingly for East Bengal, midfield general and skipper Mehtab Hossain came off with an injury but just minutes later Lalrindika broke the deadlock with a trademark left-footed effort from 30 yards much to delight of the thousands of East Bengal fans.

Mohun Bagan coach Karim Bencherifa brought on youngsters Sankar Oran and Manish Bhargav late on in search of the equaliser but it was East Bengal who could have doubled their advantage had Sueoka or Chidi been a bit more clinical.

The result ends Mohun Bagan’s four-match unbeaten run and sees East Bengal overtake their arch-rivals. Both sides have ten points each but Armando Colaco’s side have a superior goal difference and played three games less.
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