From 2-0 Down to Final Bound: East Bengal FC’s Stunning Fightback Seals Final Spot

East Bengal Stunning Fightback

East Bengal FC stages a stunning comeback from 2-0 down to level 2-2 and then beat Northeast United FC on Penalties thereby securing the spot in the Durand Cup 2023 final

In a thrilling semifinal clash of the Durand Cup 2023, NorthEast United FC’s journey came to an end as they were narrowly defeated by East Bengal FC in a penalty shootout at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata. Despite a commanding lead built by Michel Zabaco and Phalguni Singh’s goals, NorthEast United FC faced a resilient comeback from East Bengal, ultimately losing 5-3 in penalties.

Juan Pedro Benali, the coach of NorthEast United FC, introduced four changes to the starting lineup, with Parthib Gogoi making a return to the XI and Mohammed Ali Bemammer securing his first start for the club. The opening stages of the match were tense, with both teams striving to establish control. However, NorthEast United FC had a slight edge in possession.

The deadlock was finally broken in the 22nd minute, as Zabaco cleverly headed in Phalguni’s excellent cross, marking his first goal for the club. East Bengal FC had their opportunities, but the defensive efforts of Mirshad Kottappunna and the entire NorthEast backline denied them any goals in the first half.

Shortly after the second half commenced, NorthEast United FC extended their lead as Phalguni showcased his skills, maneuvering into the box and unleashing a left-footed strike that found the net off the upright, securing his second goal of the competition. However, Carles Cuadrat’s East Bengal FC proved their resilience, pulling one back in the 77th minute when Mahesh Singh Naorem’s shot deflected off Dinesh Singh and found the back of the net.

East Bengal Stunning Fightback
Emami East Bengal FC ( Red & Yellow ) played against Northeast United FC ( White ) in the Semi final -1 Match No. 41 played at Salt Lake Stadium, in 132 edition of The Durand Cup on 29/08/2023. Pic/ Ashok Nath Dey /

As the match neared its conclusion, Northeast United’s goalscorer Miguel Zabaco Tome was shown a red card by the referee, leaving his team with 10 men on the field. With only two minutes of injury time remaining, Nandhakumar Sekar managed to equalize for East Bengal FC, sending the game into direct Penalties.

In the subsequent penalty shootout, Parthib Gogoi failed to convert his spot kick for NorthEast United FC, while East Bengal FC successfully converted all of their penalties, securing a place in the final.

This thrilling encounter showcased the determination and skill of both teams, with East Bengal FC ultimately securing victory through their penalty shootout prowess.

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