The resurgent red and gold brigade eked through with a 2-1 win against TRAU FC in their fourth match of the I-League 2019-20 at the Kalyani Stadium on Saturday. Marcos Jimenez De La Espada got the ball rolling for East Bengal with the opening goal before Marti Crespi netted the winning goal in the 89th minute to remain in the title hunt and take the battle for I-League crown down the wire.
Menendez’s side asserted their dominance right from the start, creating several chances in the opening ten minutes. The 23-year-old striker Ronaldo Oliveira was called into action in the place of suspended Jaime Santos Colado. Samad Ali Mallick’s cross found its way to the net, but he could not sort his feet out in time and the ball went out after hitting the crossbar. But soon the deadlock was broken when Marcos Jimenez unleashed a rasping drive from the inch of the box with Samad sending a brilliant cross in the 17th minute.
The hosts continued to assert their supremacy, displaying swagger and confidence as TRAU looked out of sorts. At the stroke of half-time, Wahengbam Luwang’s low free-kick inside the box saw Phalguni Singh attempt a shot at goal. The effort did not go wasted as Deepak Devrani quickly deflected the ball inside. Now East Bengal continued to cruise through the game, giving their opponents no chance to stage a comeback.
The game wasn’t over yet, as the winning goal from Marti Crespi sent the home crowd into raptures. Abhijit, who came in as a substitution, squared the ball for him and the Spanish footballer headed in. With this win, East Bengal sealed three points to top the table with a total of eight points from four matches.