Bambolim, January 4: SC East Bengal played out their fifth draw of this season’s Hero Indian Super League against Bengaluru FC at the GMC Athletic Stadium in Goa, with Renedy Singh’s men having to settle for a 1-1 scoreline. Semboi Haokip’s diving header in the first half propelled SCEB into the lead, but their efforts were undone in the second half when a Bengaluru FC cross took the deflection of Sourav Das and beat goalkeeper Arindam Bhattacharya to land into the back of the net.
After the draw, SC East Bengal remain at 11th position in the Hero ISL table, with 5 points from 9 matches, while Bengaluru FC remained in the eighth spot with 10 points from 10 matches.
Interim coach Renedy Singh, who took over from Jose Manuel Diaz before this match, spoke of maintaining better shape and structure in the pre-match press conference. His efforts were put on full display in the field, with SC East Bengal starting the game brightly and giving Bengaluru FC attackers very little space to work with. Adil Khan, who started his first game in this season’s ISL, impressed the most, with his timely tackles, ball recoveries, and aerial clearances.
The attacking line was also running full-throttle, with Semboi Haokip, Angousana Luwang and Chima Chukwu all making runs into the spaces to rattle Bengaluru FC defence. The strategy paid dividends, with Semboi Haokip earning a free-kick in the right side of the field in the 28th minute. Angousana Luwang sent the ball flying to Haokip, who dove to his front to head the ball past a helpless Gurpreet Singh Sandhu. Notably, SCEB have scored 9 out of 11 goals through set-pieces this season.
Bengaluru FC took the attack to the opposition in the second half, with the introduction of veteran Sunil Chhetri adding to their strength. The SCEB defence held firm though, keeping their shape and clearing their lines. However, SCEB were undone by a slice of bad luck when a cross by Roshan Singh took a deflection of Sourav Das and curled towards the net. The ball bounced right under skipper Arindam Bhattacharya and into the goal.
Renedy Singh will certainly draw a lot of positives from this match, especially the way Adil Khan paired up with Mrcela in the heart of the defence. The national defender, who is known for his no-nonsense defending, kept a sturdy watch on Prince Ibara and Co., earning himself the Hero of the Match award.
SC East Bengal play table-toppers Mumbai City FC next on 7th January at the Tilak Maidan Stadium.