“Super Sub” Enrique scores brace as East Bengal snatches a memorable win against Neroca
It was jubilation time for the 35 thousand odd Red and Gold fans who were present on a weekday evening fixture at the Salt Lake Stadium as East Bengal rallied from behind to make a memorable comeback win against the Neroca FC.
East Bengal fielded an unchanged first eleven from the Derby while Neroca fielded Chencho who signed on loan from Bengaluru FC. It took just 3 minutes for the new man to score as Rakshit Dagar missed the flight of the ball from a Katsumi Yusa corner which fell on the feet of Chencho who just had to push the ball into an open net, hence taking a 1-0 lead early into the game. The red and gold brigade went all out after the goal and got numerous chances in the first half but failed to score with chances from Toni Dovale, Laldanmawia Ralte and Joby Justin coming ever so close but missing by whiskers! East Bengal also had a goal disallowed in the first half when Laldanmawia Ralte chested down a ball and scored from a volley only to be flagged off-side, however, replays suggested that Ralte was clearly in an onside position.
After the break it was again usual from the home side as they went all out to equalise and once again another goal was disallowed when Borja Gomez headed a ball into the goal from a Lalrindika Ralte corner! However, replays showed there was Laldanmawia Ralte standing in an off-side position on the goal line when Borja headed the ball and the referee put his flag up as he interpreted the situation as infringement of play from Ralte, which was again debatable as Ralte didn’t touch the ball while it was going in.
Coach Alejandro made three changes in the second half which made all the difference. He brought in Enrique, Brandon and Samad in place of misfiring Dovale, Laldanmawia Ralte and Kamalpreet Singh and it took less than 10 minutes as Enrique Esqueda headed home the equaliser from an inch perfect center from Jaime Santos in the 67th minute. East Bengal pilled up the pressure for the winner and it was once again Enrique Esqueda who was at the end of an excellent movement from Brandon and Samad who made a darting run down the right flank to put in a cross which was headed home by the Mexican in the 86th minute to secure all three points for the Red and Gold brigade.
East Bengal with this win now sits at 28 points from 14 matches, just 2 points behind Chennai City FC. They will next play the most vital fixture on 10th February when they face Real Kashmir FC at Srinagar in severely adverse climatic conditions.