Kingfisher East Bengal returned to winning ways with a 3-0 victory over I League debutants Bharat FC after succumbing to consecutive defeats at the hands of local and arch rivals Mcdowells Mohun Bagan and newly promoted side Royal Wahingdoh. The Lal-Hould brigade are perched at the fifth spot in the table and have won just won four matches so far in the League.
East Bengal started the season in a disastrous manner, failing to qualify for the Semi-Final in the Federation Cup and have since carried that form into the I-League. At the start of the season, the fans were optimistic, that this was the year where there was a chance of bringing the coveted I-League trophy to Bengal, although there is a high chance that may happen with Mohun Bagan unbeaten and on top of the League , East Bengal fans wouldn’t have thought of this in the beginning of the season.
East Bengal started their campaign in Goa against Sporting Club De Goa and could only manage a point in Goa. Next up they faced their city rivals Mohun Bagan and also could only manage a point in the Kolkata derby.Their first win came against current I-League champions Bengaluru FC , courtesy an Abinash Rui Das strike. Ranti Martins scored a brace in the fourth round of the I-League against Shillong Lajong FC, as Kingfisher East Bengal won their second game in the League. Suddenly things started looking bright for the Red and Gold brigade, however a 3-1 humbling at the hands Salgaocar FC at Fatorda Stadium dented their confidence.When East Bengal only managed to earn a point from newly formed Bharat FC, it was the final nail in the coffin for Armando Colaco as East Bengal opted to relieve the Goan of his duties as first team coach. East Bengal changed their coach midway through the first half of the season bringing in former United Sports Club Head Coach Eelco Schattorie in place of Armando Colaco. But the move did little to change the fortune of the Kolkata Giant, who are yet to find form in the League and will have to put a more rejuvenated performance in the second half of the season to finish anywhere near the top two in the League.
Armando Colaco could be blamed for the Red and Gold brigade’s downfall this season to some extent, with the Goan tactic’s failing miserably in the first few games. Summer signings Milan Susak and Leo Bertos have failed to adapt in the I-League and are also one of the reasons of the clubs downfall. Leo Bertos has played a total of 333 minutes and is now rarely on the starting line up, with the club’s new coach Eelco Shattorie opting for Dudu and In-form striker Ranti Martins upfront.Milan Susak and Arnab Mondal are yet to form a solid defensive partnership and the Australian certainly seems to be struggling with life in the City Of Joy.Kingfisher East Bengal are missing the presence of an experienced and calm Central Defender in the form of Uga Okpara and that has affected the Red and Gold’s defensive display so far.
With Eelco Schattorie taking over the reigns at East Bengal, fans were optimistic about a change in fortunes and a 5-1 humbling of Dempo in Goa on Eelco’s debut brought a smile back on their faces. However reality soon hit them as Sporting came from two goals down to level the scores, to grab a point of East Bengal. Successive defeats in the next two games had the fans questioning the club’ s choice of changing Colaco with Eelco in the middle of the season.
The AFC Cup haven’t helped East Bengal’s cause , with the club having to play and travel all around Asia.The travelling has had an negative impact on the players form this season , with the team looking fatigued at times in the I-League. The change in personnel at the helm of affairs coupled with the fatigue of players having played in ISL has meant that East Bengal have lacked consistency this season. The team has looked patchy and players have looked out of sync,
With the first half of the season done and dusted, Ranti Martins has been the shining light in a disappointing campaign so far for East Bengal. The Nigerian has scored thirteen goals in the I-League and is currently the top scorer of the League and he has to keep continue his goal scoring form if East Bengal want to finish anywhere near the top of the table in the league. Eelco Schattorie will however have to find a solution for his team’s defensive lapses which have cost them valuable points.
The side bounced back after two successive defeats by defeating newly formed Bharat FC 0-3, in Pune.Dudu Omagbeni scored a brace and Ranti Martins scored from the spot to give Kingfisher East Bengal a much needed victory.Coach Eelco Schattorie will be hoping his team can recreate the performance they put up against Bharat FC and have a good run of games so that East Bengal can climb to the top of the table.
Bengaluru FC and Royal Wahingdoh have both played two more matches than the Kolkata outfit and East Bengal have a chance to catch up on them if they don’t keep on dropping points at the drop of a hat. With still nine games to play in the League, anything can happen if East Bengal can start winning matches, however a shot at the title is something that looks beyond the grasps of the Red and Gold brigade this season.