Unsung hero Willis Plaza scores the winner at the death as East Bengal wins a 5 goal thriller at Barasat
It was seeming like Khalid Jamil will once again rock the chair of critics but the Trinadian proved his worth and scored two handsome headers to prevent spirited Churchill to get a point out of the fixture.
The start to the major title contenders was not up to the mark as red and yellow brigade face early dissolution with a draw to Aizawl and a defeat in the derby against arch rivals Mohun Bagan. But things took a glory turn since as they ramped five through Shilong Lajong’s defense and were obliged to do the reversal against weakened side Churchill who neither had a point nor scored the goal since the start.
And surprisingly, Churchill took Barasat the Arena to fight for their turn back. It was the same stadium they were battered by Mohun Bagan two weeks earlier and which cost Andre Shievchenko’s job. But this time the story was different. With new head coach Afusi, the club from Goa found a new rhythm. But ultimately they still failed to register even a point on board. However, much positives remain for them to sky high their thoughts and finally get their season rolling.
East Bengal is thankful that Willis Plaza had at last has opened his scoring in the league and in some style to help out his team. He didn’t look for a second like a confused or out of the ball character which was referred to him as in the last couple of games. That was a positive aspect for him to come back in vital instances of the game.
Nobody predicted that it will be a five goals thriller at Barasat but still wishing the best of luck for their beloved team, a huge crowed gather up over the stands and cheered on the top of their voice. On the pitch however, both the teams carried separate issues and they were fully concerned what was coming next.
Straight from the kickoff with loud cheers, Plaza attempted a through to Mahamoud Al Amna in wish for an early goal. Thankfully, Churchill’s center back Monday sincerely cleared out the danger. That little event actually sparked a great encounter.
Churchill had the better of the two in early periods as hot young talent Uttam Rai nibbled at early chances to show Bengal miseries at prime age of the game. That resulted in fruitfulness as his versatility torn apart the home team’s defense and allowed Vaz to spot Peter towards the D box whose immaculate finishing gave Churchill their first ever goal of the new I league campaign in the 16th minute.
Merely a minute in, when fans Ralte with his hands thrown up in the air running to congratulate Willis Plaza who has just provided an assist a few moments ago. Elaborately, Churchill were too indulged in their celebration of their first ever strike that made their shift in focus and when the opponent’s name is East Bengal, they will punish you.
Monday went out of the scene when Plaza initiate a cunning pass towards right back Lalramchullova Ralte ,it was too late for the defender to cut out the danger. The ex Aizawl player creamy conversion allowed Bengal to give an instant reply.
After multiple chances were squandered by the charging man on the pitch, Plaza was able to capitalize on Katshumi’s driven cross to unleash a powerful header smashing the net on the cusp of half time.
When players moved on to the dressing rooms for a fifteen minute break, every body thought Bengal will wrapped it up in the next period. But Afusi’s men proved them wrong once again. Uttam Rai and Larung tormented Eduardo many times and hopefully their task didn’t materialized. But East Bengal failed to resist for Churchill to ripple their net once again. This time Osagie’s lofted pass was misqued by Prakash which allow Nelson Fernandez to drop volley over the keeper to make it 2-2.
Jamil was forced to bring more attacking players on the pitch and Rafique and D Silva were given the chance to gift three points at any cost.
Then young keeper Kithan showed his character.
Bengal produced numerous chances then after but this young kid’s outstanding pair of arms honoured him the man of the match award performance. First he did very well to keep two sharp headers from Plaza and then a ruthless strike from Al Amna. But he failed to keep the defensive intact till the last.
At the defining end, Kithan saved a strike from Plaza and gifted a corner to the home team. And at the crucial time from Katshumi’s set piece the hero of the Masals came up with the winner with a thumping header.