SC East Bengal Hold off League Leaders Mumbai City FC

Vasco, January 7: SC East Bengal put up a clinical defensive display to keep Mumbai City FC's brilliant attack at bay and snatch a point from the crucial Hero Indian Super League encounter at the Tilak Maidan Stadium in Goa.

With the draw, SC East Bengal stayed at 11th place in the table, with six points from 10 matches, while Mumbai City FC moved to the top of the standings, one point and one game ahead of Hyderabad FC.

SC East Bengal, already without the services of central defender Tomislav Mrcela due to a muscle injury, was pegged back right at the start, when Joyner Lourenco was forced off the field in the 20th minute. However, SC East Bengal interim head coach Renedy Singh was not one to get bogged down by such setbacks. He introduced Ankit Mukherjee to replace Joyner, and the young defender repaid the faith placed in him and defended with valour throughout the match.

Mumbai City FC’s intention of playing attacking football was made clear right from the start, although the composure of SCEB in front of their own goal made sure the defending champions could not get their teeth into the attack. The best chance of the first half fell to Ahmed Jahouh, who got a free header in front of the SCEB defence but headed it straight to skipper Arindam Bhattacharya.

SC East Bengal continued their compact defending in the second-half, with Adil Khan and Ankit Mukherjee making some clinical tackles and clearing their lines. Goalkeeper Arindam Bhattacharya chipped in too, making a good save off Gabriel Vilela Ferreira. Sourav Das also put on an impressive defensive display, making sure the likes of Jahouh and Angulo couldn't get the space they yearned for and earning himself the Hero of the Match award. Mumbai City FC did all they could to break behind the lines, but to no avail.

SC East Bengal play Owen Coyle’s Jamshedpur FC next on 11th January at the GMC Athletic Stadium in Bambolim.

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