Margao, February 2: SC East Bengal staged a remarkable comeback against Chennaiyan FC to snatch a point from the jaws of defeat in a Hero Indian Super League encounter at the Tilak Maidan in Goa on Wednesday . The match ended 2-2 after Lalrinliana Hnamte’s acrobatic effort in the 90th minute ensured the Red-&-Gold Brigade did not return empty-handed.
With the draw, Chennaiyan FC lose their chance to climb to the third spot in the ISL table, moving up to 6th place, with 19 points from 14 matches. SC East Bengal moved up above NorthEast United to the 10th spot, with 10 points from 15 games.
The match started with a shocker in the very first minute of the game, as a Chennaiyan FC cross deflected off Hira Mondal’s feet and ended up in the back of the net.
The concession of an early goal drove SC East Bengal onto the offensive. Mahesh Naorem Singh, Antonio Perosevic and Angousana Luwang all fought for chances to shoot at the goal, but were unable to keep the ball on target. Chennaiyan FC doubled their lead in the 15th minute, when Ninthoinganba Meetei’s brisk pace took him inside the SCEB penalty area. He unleashed a shot with his right foot to the far post, giving Arindam Bhattacharya no chance to get near the ball.
SC East Bengal kept attacking, but lacked the finishing in the final third. New signing Marcelo Ribeira Dos Santos had the best chance of the first half, when a cross from Naorem found him unmarked. The Brazilian, however, headed the ball well wide of the goal.
SCEB pushed for their opening goal in the second half and Man of the Match Darren Sidoel’s curling free-kick in the 60th minute gave SCEB the boost they needed. The Dutchman’s shot for the top right corner, out of the reach of Chennaiyan FC goalkeeper Debjit Majumder’s dive. Encouraged by the goal, SCEB pushed for the equalizer, defending CFC’s counter-attacks valiantly in between. But, despite this push, another heartbreak looked to be in the offing, as the game neared the 90th-minute.
Substitute Lalrinliana Hnamte was the man on the spot at the tipping point. Taking a corner in the dying minutes of the game, Angousana Luwang delivered an outside curler with his left foot. Hnamte surged forward, connecting with the ball as it dipped towards the near post and flicking it all the way to the far post, into the back of the net.
SC East Bengal face Odisha FC next on February 7, and today’s comeback will do a world of good in terms of confidence for SCEB footballers and support staff alike.