132nd Durand Cup: Nadhakumar's Strike Helps East Bengal To Victory Over Mohun Bagan  - Eastern Mirror
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132nd Durand Cup: Nadhakumar’s strike helps East Bengal to victory over Mohun Bagan 

By IANS Updated: Aug 12, 2023 8:25 pm
132nd Durand Cup
Photo : IANS

KOLKATA —   East Bengal (EEB) dished out a performance for the ages, getting the better of archrivals Mohun Bagan Super Giant (MBSG) 1-0 in a Group A match of the 132nd Durand Cup game at Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan (VYBK).

The Kolkata Derby is a rivalry for the ages and Saturday’s pulsating clash lived up that reputation.

In front of roaring fans, Nandhakumar Sekar nailed a left-footed pile driver on the hour-mark, to bring to a halt a run of eight consecutive derby losses for the red and golds.

The win takes EEB to four points from two games while MBSG finish their group engagements with two wins and six points and will await the result of the EEB-Punjab FC game to understand their position in the group which they currently top.

EEB’s Spanish manager Cuadrat began with four foreigners and three changes in his starting eleven with fellow Spaniards Saul Crespo and Javier Siverio, having Borja Herrera and Australian Jordan Elsey for company.

Likewise, Juan Ferrando of MBSG, began on the day with Ashish Rai and Anirudh Thapa and gave a start to Albanian front-man Armando Sadiku.

Honours even after the first half MBSG did fire the first shots with Sadiku showing his class with a strike on the turn in the very first minute, that just missed the target.

However, East Bengal sprang a surprise by settling down nicely into the game with the best of their chances coming in the 17th minute when Naorem Mahesh Singh’s enterprise inside the box, found Souvik Chakrabarti in space, but his goal attempt was deflected away.

There was an immediate response from Hugo Boumous first and then the combination of Liston and Sadiku for MBSG mounted danger for the red and golds, with the derby living up to the fan’s expectations. When the first water break was taken at the half-hour mark, honours were even.

And although Manvir fired the first shot immediately after that break which yet again misfired, honours remained even after the first 45 minutes.

The second half brought no new results and Ferrando began to ring in the changes quite early, sensing new and fresh ideas and perspectives were needed to break the deadlock,

Boumous and Sadiku were replaced by Petratos and Australian World-Cupper Jason Cummings. Petratos could have scored immediately when Manvir found him with a free header in front of goal, but the Greek lobbed over.

Then all hell broke loose at the hour mark. EEB was on the counter and Borja brought about a quick offensive transition, finding Nandhakumar’s run deep inside the MBSG half, from the middle of the park.

The lanky Chennai-born winger darted in, turned his marker Thapa inside, took a couple of touches, and unleashed a left-footer that beat the entire Bagan defense and keeper Vishal Kaith at full-stretch and nestled into the back of the net.

Ferrando kept getting players off his strong bench and unleashed Sahal first in place of Manvir. Cuadrat also responded with a double change and brought V.P. Suhari and Guite in place of Borja and Siverio, who had to be stretchered off.

As a final throw of the dice, Ferrando brought on Suhail Bhat and Ashique Kuruniyan in place of Anirudh Thapa and Liston Colaco, but other than two gilt-edged chances for Jason Cummings in the 69th and 81stminute, the EEB defense stood resolute.

The final few minutes were played in blinding rain, but nothing could wash away the joy of the EEB players as their team held on to a famous victory.

Also read: 132nd Durand Cup: FC Goa, NorthEast United FC share points in 2-2 thriller

By IANS Updated: Aug 12, 2023 8:25:21 pm
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