East Bengal too strong for ArrowsJanuary 3, 2018
East Bengal pulled back for a large part of the second half, while the Indian Arrows pulled up its game and efforts. But the gap between the two sides was too large for the youngsters as the visitors notched up their fifth win in eight I-League matches with a 2-0 result at the Ambedkar Stadium here on Tuesday.
The result, courtesy goals from Syrian Mahmoud Al Amna and Japanese Katsumi Yusa in a span of three minutes, helped East Bengal extend its hold at the top with 17 points while Arrows slipped a spot to seventh with as many points in as many games.
The absence of key personnel was clearly felt by Arrows, the AIFF developmental side made up of the national Under-17 and Under-22 players. Captain Amarjit Singh and Jeakson Singh were unavailable which allowed EB to dominate the midfield.
Dheeraj Singh had walked out of the team at the end of his contract on December 31 and Prabhsukhan Singh Gill, the 16-year old goalkeeper replacing him and playing his first game of the competition, was clearly overawed by the occasion and the opposition. He grew into his role with some impressive saves in the second half but for the first 45 minutes he appeared clueless.
Al Amna’s curling free-kick — after Yusa was fouled by Abhishek Halder — from the left edge of the box in the 13th minute saw the Arrows defence rooted and Gill caught unawares at the far post.
Three minutes later, Yusa slotted the ball into the top right corner after receiving a cross from Laldanmawia Ralte.
The second half saw EB not taking too many chances and Arrows came close to scoring in the 58th when Sanjeev Stalin’s corner kick was headed towards the goal by Anwar Ali but Abhijit Sarkar’s back-heel effort went straight to East Bengal custodian Luis Barreto.
It perhaps woke up the opposition as EB began attacking more, coming close to adding another goal in the 62nd minute but Ralte’s header was punched out by Gill.
The result: East Bengal 2 (Mohammed Al Amna, Katsumi Yusa) bt Indian Arrows 0.