Brazilian striker Cleiton Silva did the star turn with twin strikes as East Bengal comprehensively beat Mohun Bagan Super Giants 3-1 in their last group league match to enter the semi-finals of the Super Cup here on Friday.
East Bengal were down by a goal inside 20th minute through a Hector Yuste strike but Silva equalised in the 24th minute before sealing the match with an 80th minute goal. In between, Nandha Kumar struck in the 63rd minute.
It was the green and maroon brigade that played high press football during the first 20 minutes and got a few corner kicks and one such saw Hector neatly slotting it past former U-17 World Cupper Prabhsukhan Gill.
However, Mohun Bagan’s joy was short-lived as Silva equalised in the 24th minute of the match.
A goalmouth melee in front of Super Giants’ box saw a faulty clearance and Silva’s pile driver from just outside the box found the back of the net.
Mohun Bagan would consider themselves unlucky as they missed out on a spot-kick conversion after Hijazi Maher’s handball gave them a shot at lead during the stoppage time of the first half.
While Dimitri Petratos converted from the first kick, the referee in a controversial move asked the player to re-take the kick, as he ruled encroachment inside the penalty box.
The second attempt hit the horizontal and the stroke of luck was what the red and golds needed to come back into the match.
It was young defender Ravi Rana’s poor anticipation that saw Borja Herrera win the ball from him and his shot came off the post, only for Nandha to complete the formalities from the rebound. In the 63rd minute, East Bengal went 2-1 up, and there was no looking back after that.
The 80th minute goal was a classic counter-attack, coming just when Mohun Bagan were throwing the kitchen sink at their opponents with repeated raids.
It was a long ball from the East Bengal defensive third that landed in Bagan box as Hijazi, who was on the overlap won the aerial duel with second goalkeeper Arsh Shaikh, and the resultant loose ball found an unmarked Silva, who put it into the net to make it 3-1.
Source website: www.hindustantimes.com