THROWBACK: When East Bengal FC thumped SIX past the Iraqi champions!
Last Updated 8:12 PM 20th June 2020 .
East Bengal Football Club has been one of the most glorious sporting institutions of the country for the past hundred years and there has been several instances of international success which we have been covering in our #throwback series.
Today, we shall talk about one of the most memorable victories of East Bengal FC over a foreign opponent that took place in 1993 in the Asian Cup Winners Cup against Iraqi champions Al-Zawraa SC.
Al-Zawraa SC are one of the best teams from Iraq, having won the most number of Iraqi Premier Leagues in history. In the late 80s and early 90s, Iraq were a dominant force in Asian Football having qualified for the 1986 FIFA World Cup.
The Al-Zawraa SC team were the Iraqi champions in 1991 and 1993 and had also won the Iraqi FA Cup in 1992, thus qualified for the 1993/94 Asian Cup Winners Cup. The team had few of the stars from the Iraqi World Cup squad of 1986 including star forward Ahmed Radhi, who was awarded the Best player of Asia in 1988 and scored Iraq’s only goal in the 1986 World Cup.
East Bengal FC qualified for the 1993 Asian Cup Winners Cup and were drawn against the Iraqi Champions in the first round of the competition. The first leg was to be played at the Salt Lake Stadium while the return leg was to be played at Kanchenjunga Stadium in Siliguri since due to political tensions in Iraq in early 1993, FIFA and AFC banned football to be played in Iraq.
In June 1993, East Bengal FC had won the invitational Wai Wai Cup International tournament in Nepal under the leadership of Ilyas Pasha and Swarup Das, with players like Sisir Ghosh, Carlton Chapman, Kiron Khongsai, Aqeel Ansari defeating RCT club of Nepal and were ready to face the Iraqi champions in the Asian Cup Winners Cup.
The Iraqi team were the favourites with the strong squad they had brought in while Red and Gold brigade were clearly the underdogs even playing at their home ground but the tables turned on 6th October 1993 at the Salt Lake Stadium.
Carton Chapman, the lanky skillful attacking midfielder from Kerala, would go on to seize the day for himself with a memorable hat-trick against the Iraqis as East Bengal FC thumped half-a-dozen goals past Al-Zawraa SC.
Sisir Ghosh, Aqeel Ansari and Kumaresh Bhawal scored the other three for East Bengal FC while Mudhir Muhsim and Shahib Abbas scored two goals for the visitors as the game ended in a memorable 6-2 victory for the Red and Gold brigade.
The scoreline would be a shock for the Iraqi Champions and they would make a comeback in the return leg fixture defeating East Bengal FC by 2-0 however, the aggregate score of 6-4 would take East Bengal FC to the next round of the competition.
This victory against the West Asian heavyweights is remembered vividly by the fans even today and especially the heroics of Carton Chapman, who wrote his name into the history books by scoring the memorable hat-trick in the match.
East Bengal FC would face the eventual runner’s up of the tournament South China FC in the Second Round and crash out of the tournament with a 1-5 aggregate score, with 16 year old Bhaichung Bhutia scoring the only goal for East Bengal FC away at Hong Kong, and thus ending their campaign.