SC East Bengal may have suffered three consecutive defeats at the start of their maiden Hero Indian Super League campaign, but with seventeen more matches left for them in this marathon competition, you know that a comeback is always around the corner.
Talking of ‘comebacks’, there are very few teams in Indian football that embody the word as fittingly as the red-and-gold brigade does, and if history is anything to go by, there are enough instances for fans and the team alike to draw inspiration from.
In this article, we look back at three of East Bengal’s greatest comebacks in the past:-
In the 2007-08 edition of the I-League, East Bengal lost five successive matches. However, they bounced back to register the first ever victory in the Middle East by an Indian team when they defeated Jordan’s Al-Wehdat Sports Club in Zarqa in the group stage of the AFC Cup, under the coaching of Aloke Mukherjee. Alvito D’Cunha and Ikechukwu Gift Ibe scored the goals in this away win.
After losing four back-to-back games—two in the IFA Shield (against United Sports Club and TATA Football Academy) and two in the Durand Cup (against Shillong Lajong FC and the erstwhile Mahinda United)—the Red-and-Golds slumped to a 3-5 defeat against Mohun Bagan in the I-League. From there, the team made arguably its greatest comeback by winning the Federation Cup without conceding a single goal, under the stewardship of Philippe De Ridder.
In the recent past, East Bengal pulled off an outstanding comeback to finish runners-up in the 2018-19 I-League despite
losing three consecutive games in the initial stages of the tournament. The red-and-gold brigade missed out on the title by a whisker, falling one point short of winners Chennai City FC. Spain’s Alejandro Menéndez García was the club’s manager back then.
Statistics provided by Gautam Roy