By Debayan Mukherjee,
AIFF Media Team
East Bengal 0
MARGAO: A Romeo Fernandes first-half header helped local giants Dempo SC down lacklustre East Bengal by a solitary goal in a Group A tie of the Hero Federation Cup here at the Nehru Stadium in Fatorda on Monday (December 29, 2014).
Romeo made a most of a delightful lofted through ball from Tolgay Ozbey five minutes to halftime to nod home effortlessly with no one marking him. It could have been 2-0 for the blue shirts had Tolgay not spurned a golden opportunity with goalkeeper Subhashish Roy Chowdhury out of his box.
East Bengal’s defense looked porous to say the least with new pairing Arnab Mondal and Australian Milan Susak not gelling at all at the heart of the defense.
Had it not been for fine saves from new signing under the bar Subhashish Roy Chowdhury, the red and gold brigade could have been in arrears by the 16th minute.
The Kolkata giants’ keeper saved brilliantly from Mandar Rao Desai and Romeo in the span of 11 first-half minutes to keep his former club at bay, although in between a Romeo goal was ruled offside.
Two yellow cards were flashed to Cavin Lobo and Lenny for exchanging rash tackles on each other.
Dempo for their part looked the better of the two teams with the likes of Tolgay, Romeo and Mandar having a lot of joy on the left flank where Raju Gaikwad was exposed too easily.
Just when East Bengal saw a glimmer of hope courtesy Dudu Omagbemi’s attempt on the spin from the top of the box, Dempo got their noses ahead.
Tolgay pick pocketed a diving Susak with ease in the middle of the pitch to sprint some 20 yards to the edge of the box, then sending in a pinpoint cross for Romeo to head home.
East Bengal’s ineptitude was encapsulated right at the end of first half when Raju failed to keep a Lobo slide-rule pass in play on the byline.
East Bengal, as expected threw in the kitchen sink after the restart.
Dempo sat back soaking in the pressure. Coach Armando Colaco ringed in the changes in search of the equaliser – Cavin Lobo making way for Shylo Malsawmthuanga, Mohammed Rafique replacing Mehtab Hossain and Baljit Sahni in for Deepak Mondal – but it was just not their day.
Ranti Martins and Leo Bertos came close to scoring but the best chance of the half fell to Tolgay who should have scored after Subhashish did a Manuel Neuer by sweeping at the feet of Romeo from a one on one situation thus freeing Tolgay. But the former East Bengal marksman inexplicably shot wide with the goal at his mercy.
Posted on : Monday December 29, 2014