Panchkula, February 13: East Bengal picked up a sensational victory over table-toppers Minerva Punjab FC, thanks to a long-ranger volley from Cavin Lobo on the hour-mark during their I-League match at the Tau Devi Lal stadium in Panchkula on Tuesday (February 13).
Lobo's strike also handed Minerva Punjab their first defeat at home this season.The visitors secured all three crucial points to stay alive in the title race.
.@ILeagueOfficial has taken a twist today as @eastbengalfc got the better of @Minerva_AFC in their own backyard. Albeit @Minerva_AFC are able to maintain to hold their pole, only 3 points are separating top three points at this moment.#HeroILeague pic.twitter.com/rPwMhKWVQS— Hero I-League (@ILeagueOfficial) February 13, 2018
Minerva Punjab continue to top the table with 29 points from 14 matches, one more than NEROCA FC, who have played a game more. East Bengal are third with 26 points in 14 matches.
Apart from the early few minutes, East Bengal dominated the game, having penetrated Minerva's defence with sharp through balls from the flanks. Minerva Punjab's goalkeeper Rakshit had to come out of his position numerous times to clear the ball from one-on-one situations.
Minerva slowly came back into the game in the latter part of the first half when Chencho Gyeltshen and William Opuku started riots from both wings. East Bengal almost conceded an own goal from a wayward clearance by Eduardo Ferrera in the 37th minute, which fortunately landed on the roof of the net.
Meanwhile, East Bengal probably missed the easiest chance of the game to go forward when Yami Longvah failed to connect a cross inside the box in the 35th minute having resulted in an early change by Khalid Jamil, who introduced Ansumana Kromah at his expense.
Minerva started the second half sharply with pacey attacks from wings. Gagandeep had an outrageous opportunity in the 48th minute but his mistimed shot was easily stopped by Ubaid.
Minerva then had another chance when William was tripped in a dangerous position just outside the penalty box but the resultant free-kick by Sukhdev went aiming for the moon.
60' GOAL!@lobo_cavin has found the net from a distance after Kromah missed his chance. Dagar could do little about that one. And @eastbengalfc have found the lead they so desperately wanted.— Hero I-League (@ILeagueOfficial) February 13, 2018
MPFC 0 - 1 KEB#HeroILeague #MPFCvKEB
Rakshit Dagar had to make another fine save in 60th minute of the game but his defence couldn't hold on. An absolute stunner by Calvin Lobo silenced the home crowd to give his side the lead with 30 minutes of game-time left.
Chencho had an extremely good chance to level the score in the 79th minute but his shot went straight into the goalie's gloves.
Chencho made an excellent run straight into the opposition's box, beating three players in the process and eventually, delivered a delicious cross to William, whose wayward header missed the target.
The Kolkata giants will now travel to Kozhikode to challenge Gokulam Kerala FC on February 17, whereas Minerva Punjab FC will host the Kerala-based side three days later.
Match result: Minerva Punjab FC 0 lost to East Bengal 1 (Cavin Lobo 60)
Source: AIFF Media