East Bengal strike twice to down Bengaluru FC

Bangalore, Dec 15: East Bengal ended Bengaluru FC’s winning spree at home with goals by James Moga (17th) and Edeh Chidi (80th) for a deserving 2-0 result in the Airtel I-League match, here Sunday.

The visitors, thus, repeated their 2-0 home win against Bengaluru FC who crashed to their first defeat in eight games at the Bangalore Football Stadium after coming close to scoring a couple of times.

While Bengaluru FC remain on 27 points from 14 outings, East Bengal picked up three crucial points for their fifth win and moved to 18 from 16 matches.

The home team paid a heavy price for muffing a few scoring opportunities while the woodwork also denied them at least two goals, but on the day, East Bengal, playing tough for which they earned two yellow cards, fully deserved the victory.

At the outset, it was Bengaluru FC who set the pace with a series of moves that stretched the East Bengal defence. Sean Rooney had a great chance to score when he went in on a lob by John Menyongar, but the bounce was a bit too high and his attempt was easily gathered by Gurpreet Singh Sandhu.

At the other end, an acrobatic Soram Angamba managed to tip over a long range shot by Harmonjeet Khabra for an abortive corner.

East Bengal then drew first blood in the 17th minute when 31-year old Sudanese striker Moga broke through. He dodged past goalkeeper Soram Angamba who left his charge to be left stranded outside the penalty area as Moga eluded defenders Manju and Curtis Osano before knocking the ball in with the left foot.

A few close tackles saw the temperatures rising, but fortunately, wiser counsel prevailed as Referee AE Simoe handed out a yellow card to East Bengal defender Raju Gaikwad for a hefty tackle.

On resumption, Bengaluru FC showed understandable urgency and mounted waves of attacks, but success eluded them. A pile-driver by Siam Hangal struck the upright and then Sean Rooney was just off the mark with another powerful shot as East Bengal lived rather dangerously.

There were some heated moments following close tackling. East Bengal’s Cavin Lobo and later Bengaluru FC’s Darren Caldeira earned yellow card bookings.

With a desperate Bengaluru FC unable to break the East Bengal defence, the visitors struck a second time in the 80th minute when their Niegerian import 26-year old Edeh Chidi unleashed a brilliant left-footer from a difficult angle that beat Angamba.

The static Bengaluru FC defence seemed to look for an off-side decision that never came and East Bengal all but sealed the issue.

IANS