East Bengal hosted Mumbai FC in the 6th round of the I-League season as they continued their hold on the top of the table with a comfortable 2-0 victory. Trinidad and Tobago striker Willis Plaza scored a quickfire brace to get the Red & Golds all the three points. Mumbai continue their dismal form as they slumped to their fourth loss on the trot.
1. Santosh Kashyap’s Defensive Lineup
Santosh Kashyap fielded a 5-3-2 formation with Pratik Chaudhari back in the lineup after being benched against Shillong Lajong. He had Chandrashekar Rao and Shallum Pires in support with Reagan Singh and Allan Dias playing the role of wing-backs. The coach put in a defensive lineup to counter the strong Bengal attack with Robin Singh and Willis Plaza, two strong forwards who have height and strength. Unfortunately, the Mumbai defense could not contain Plaza whose brilliant brace took the game away from the Mumbaikars.
2.East Bengal Looked in Control
East Bengal were upbeat having unbeaten for five games and winning four in a row before this game. They expectedly took the control of the game from the get go. The Bengal side were rewarded in the 10th minute when they took the lead through Plaza’s good finish. Their lead was doubled in the 17th minute with individual brilliance from Plaza. From there on, East Bengal managed to subdue the away side and kept the possession for long stretches of the game. Captain Didika Ralte was dangerous with his long balls and even grabbed an assist for the second goal. East Bengal did simmer down in the second half but not enough to let the advantage slip away.
3. Spirited Showing from Mumbai FC in Second Half
Santosh Kashyap introduced Karan Sawhney in the second half to boost the attack of Mumbai FC. The change seemed to do wonders as Mumbai slowly started gaining tempo in the game. They were creating chances with ease and looked dangerous on the counter with Thoi’s darting runs on the right. Mumbai had themselves to blame for wasting many well created chances which if converted would have given them a shot to get back into the game. Chances wasted against a team of East Bengal’s stature cost the Mumbai side as they were left ruing their missed opportunities.
4. Farukh Chaudhary’s Impressive Performance
In a otherwise disappointing overall showing, Farukh Chaudhary was a bright spark for Mumbai FC. He got the first chance of the match when he ran through the left but couldn’t muster up a strong enough effort to trouble TP Rehenesh in the East Bengal goal. He was a major trouble for the right side of East Bengal defense as he constantly made incisive runs into the box. With the introduction of Karan Sawhney, he drifted wide and provided some crosses into the attacking area.
5. Willis Plaza’s Individual Brilliance
East Bengal’s Trinidad and Tobagian recruit Willis Plaza managed to atone for his misses in the previous game against Bengaluru FC. He shone with a quick brace inside 20 minutes to give the Bengal side an early home advantage. In the 10th minute, he grabbed onto a ball in the box , managed to slot his left-footed shot past Kunal Sawant in the Mumbai goal to the right. He doubled his tally when he latched on to a great aerial ball from Didika Ralte. Plaza controlled it with a brilliant touch and blasted into the roof of the goal. He was rightly adjudged the Hero of the Match for his incredible performance.