East Bengal and Bharat FC share a point each in a match marked by controversy

I league

The Sunday I- League match held at the giant Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata saw the veterans of the game East Bengal taking on the newbies Bharat FC. While the teams played out a gripping 1-1 tie, the match saw more controversy than even the India- Pak World Cup game held earlier in the day.

East Bengal’s recent progress chart was halted by Salgaocar as coach Armando Colaco made six changes to the side while Bharat FC who were eager to find winning ways went in with same 11 that lost to Bengaluru FC 1-0 last time out.

The first chance came for East Bengal in the 3rd minute when Ranti Martins laid off the ball in open space for Ralte but the winger missed this sitter as he put away the ball into the skies.

East Bengal called the shots in the first 10 minutes and only on the 11th minute did we say a Bharat FC chance when Boco’s pass found Bright who with his skill and execution in place turned around with the ball brilliantly for a firm strike but only in the hands of keeper Roy at the center of the goal.

East Bengal maintained good pressure early on as they notched up successive corners in the 16th minute but failed to make it count. On the other hand, 18th minute saw Bharat FC’s Lester get himself into a good position but his shot was just way off target.

The first booking was recorded by Englishman Bobby Hassell for coming into the field on the 21st minute without waiting for the referee’s signal.

Arindam, the Bharat FC custodian deflected a superb shot off Khabra in the 23rd minute after Ranti and Ralte combined to set up the golden opportunity for their skipper.

3 minutes later, the other skipper Gourmangi Singh put in a sublime effort as he hoped to convert a Lestor Fernandes corner but the ball just nicked off the cross bar as the rebound went in vain.

East Bengal earned a free kick on the 38th minute which Ralte effectively put in near the box as Khabra tried for goal but was denied so by Arindam.

The hosts which were looking threatening got their eventual goal 41 minutes down the clock. Ranti combined with Mama and got himself in an advantageous position in the box as a final pass from Mama saw him putting the ball in the bottom right corner past Arindam’s legs. The Bharat FC players were furious and rightly so as the replays indicated off side while the officials’ flags had stayed down.

Thus an eventful first half came to end with no shortage of purpose, and the difference between the two sides being the solitary Bengal goal.

The second half lit up almost immediately when on the 49th minute Ralte fired in a stunning long ranger but Arindam came to the Lions’ rescue and collected the ball.

A chance surfaced for Bharat FC yet again on 55 minutes when Steven Dias sent in a free kick and Hassell rose up for a perfect header but it was defended by the keeper Roy.

The best moment could have been etched in on the 58th minute then but it was not to be.. Mama sent in a pass from the wings for Ranti in front of the goal whose header was went just went a whisker over the bar to rest atop the nets.

The equalizer that had long been eluding the Bharat FC team came in as the clock struck 65 minutes. Steven Dias sent in a cracker cross from the right flank in the box, while keeper Roy rose to clear it, winger Bright rose to get a header in. the two collided and ultimately as the keeper failed to grab the ball, Bright’s effort bundled it home. There was a hint of foul in this but the referee thought otherwise as the score line was at par.

77th minute saw an unbelievable miss by Baljit Sahni for Bengal as he got into a position and fired a mighty right footed shot but it was just short of target by some minute length.

Dudu who had come on as a sub for Bengal tried for goal in the 81st with a long ranger but it ran past just shy off the post.

As the rain started coming down, the last chance was in the 91st minute when Bharat FC’s Manjit Sigh attempted his hot but it was off target.

The final ensuing minutes touched a bitter note, after Abhishek Das’s foul on Steven Dias.. as a number of players engaged in a verbal duel and physicality with the referee and other officials had to budge in to cool down the tense atmosphere. Arindam, Abhishek Das and Robert were shown the yellow card and the game came to a close few moments later ending in a gripping, controversial draw.

Keeper Arindam was adjudged Hero of the Match as East Bengal went up to the fourth position on the table with 8 points while Bharat FC lie second last at the bottom with a couple of points.

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