Updated: Feb 18
Panaji, Nov 27: Playing their debut game in the Hero Indian Super League, SC East Bengal were defeated 0-2 by ATK Mohun Bagan FC at Tilak Maidan, Vasco on Friday. Both Roy Krishna and Manvir Singh scored in the second half of the game to hand the Mariners their second consecutive win this season. This was their 327th meeting across all competitions since the first-ever Kolkata derby in 1925.
Playing in their iconic red-and-gold colours, SC East Bengal dominated possession and maintained a 78% pass accuracy in the first half, with midfielders Anthony Pilkington and Jacques Maghoma creating a series of chances.
SCEB’s first scoring opportunity came in the eighth minute when Pilkington and Maghoma combined to build up an attack inside the opposition’s penalty area, which was thwarted by Tiri.
In the 36th minute of the end-to-end first-half action, ATKMB FC midfielder Javi Hernandez struck a powerful left-footed shot on target, but SCEB goalkeeper Debjit Majumder pulled off a brilliant save to delay an opposition lead.
Despite the action speeding up following the first drinks break at the thirty-minute mark, with both teams vying to break the deadlock, the first half ended goalless.
However, just four minutes into the second half, ATKMB striker Roy Krishna produced a clinical left-footed finish from just outside the penalty box to beat SCEB custodian Debjit Majumder and help his side take the lead.
From that point on, SCEB pushed hard for an equalizer, with Pilkington leading the charge with some deft touches and fiery shots on target, but were unable to register a goal as striker Balwant Singh failed to make use of the chances that came his way.
The Red-and-Golds came nearest to scoring their maiden Hero ISL goal in the 82nd minute when a powerful Pilkington curling shot from outside the box was saved by ATKMB goalkeeper Arindam Bhattacharya, who had to dive full stretch to negate the threat.
In the 85th minute, Manvir Singh, who had earlier come on as a substitute for David Williams in the 63rd minute, netted his fourth Hero ISL goal and his side’s second of the night to ensure a 2-0 win. ATKMB midfielder Carl McHugh was adjudged the Hero of the Match.
Reflecting on his side’s performance in their first game this season, SCEB manager Robbie Fowler said, “I think performance-wise we were okay. For a team that has been put together in two-and-a-half weeks, I think we put in a good performance. They [ATKMB] were the champions last year and we more than matched them at times. I think we showed glimpses of what we can become.”
The Red-and-Golds play Mumbai City FC next at the GMC Stadium Bambolim on 1 December from 7.30 PM.