Vasco da Gama, February 7: Despite an admirable display, SC East Bengal went down 1-2 against Odisha FC in a Hero Indian Super League encounter at the Tilak Maidan in Goa on Monday. Antonio Perosevic was the sole goal scorer for the Red-&-Gold Brigade. With the loss, SC East Bengal now sit at the 10th place on the table, having 10 points from 16 matches. Odisha FC, on the other hand, climb to the 6th place, with 21 points from 15 matches.
SC East Bengal started the game with four foreigners: Antonio Perosevic, Marcelo Rebeiro, Darren Sidoel, and Franjo Prce. The match began with Odisha FC enjoying most of the possession, keeping the pressure on the Red-&-Gold Brigade. However, SCEB’s defence held resolute, as they gradually grew into the match. Antonio Perosevic and Hira Mondal made sure SCEB had plenty of forward momentum, penetrating OFC’s defense numerous times.
Odisha FC, however, was quick to capitalize on SC East Bengal’s lost possession at the 23rd minute. Javier Hernandez dribbled past a couple of defenders before putting it on a plate for Jonathas Cristian to tap in.
SC East Bengal soon stepped on the gas, trying to make inroads. At the dying minutes of the second half, Hira Mondal tried to curl the ball in with his left foot, but it went wide of the mark.
After trailing 0-1 in the first half, a resurgent East Bengal appeared relentless in the second. At the 59th minute, Darren Sidoel took a sumptuous free-kick from outside the box, only to miss by inches. Ten minutes later, Perosevic caught the OFC defence sleeping and went for the equalizer, but the shot missed the mark.
SCEB came back into the game in the 64th minute. Franjo Prce launched an attack from the centre with a stunning forward ball, which was elegantly collected by Perosevic and buried into the back of the net. Arshdeep Singh had no chance to make a save.
Another reversal at the 75th minute saw Javier Hernandez doubling Odisha FC’s lead. Assisted by Jonathas, Hernandez sailed it past Sankar Roy at the bottom right corner. Hernandez tried to collect a brace at the 82nd minute, but Hira came in with a brilliant goal line clearance at the last second.
Although SC East Bengal started the second half on the front foot, they could not find their way back into the game before the final whistle. The Red-&-Gold Brigade needs to go back to the drawing board and come back stronger, to face Mumbai City FC on February 12th at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Fatorda.