Kolhapur, Feb 13 (Calcutta Tube / IBNS) Title aspirants East Bengal received a major jolt conceding their first defeat 0-1 to bottom ranked ONGC at ONGC I-League 4 on Saturday to throw wide open the 14-team championship at the second and final leg.
The match winner came from captain B Babathunde five minutes into the second half at Sahu Maharaj Stadium as East Bengal began their second phase with away play after remaining undefeated in past 13 matches.
Babathunde’s 4th goal of this edition was eye an catching soccer with controlling a right flank floater to dodge past Mehrazudding to sent a left footer beating Sandip Nandy completely.
Now Salgaocar SC have chance to level points with EB’s 31 when the Goa outfit meet Viva Kerala, second from bottom in the 14th round on Sunday.
The defeat of East Bengal was also very significance for the coaches as the red and golds so far lost four games in 2010-11 seasons and in occasions deep defender Uga Okpara was missing from the side.
For the first time, coach Trevor James Morgan stayed outside East Bengal’s dugout as he had been given one-match suspension after Sunday’s derby fiasco with Mohun Bagan.
Whist he digested the painful sitting away from the sidelines, goalkeeping coach Atanu Bhattacharjee managed the overall coaching for the side.
East Bengal before this defeat, lost to Chirag United in Durand Cup, Super League against Dempo Sports Club and against Aryan in the local league where the shaven-headed African had not play for winners of Federation Cup of Calcutta League.
With Mehrazuding Worbay, Sayeed Rahim Nabi returning to play for the club after national duty in Doha’s Asian Cup championship, East Bengal’s defence looked quite vulnerable without the African defender, Uga Okpara.
The second leg of the IL not augured for all three Kolkata outfits when Chirag United drew 0-0 with Indian Arrows in New Delhi on Friday and Mohun Bagan held 0-0 by Pune FC at Yuba Bharati Krirangan on Saturday.
East Bengal’s new Brazilian recruit Alexandra de Santosh Silva had also bad debut receiving yellow card withing minutes as substitute in the second half from referee Sazi Kurien for a foul against ONGC’s goalkeeper Prasenjit Ghosh, who had very good outing of the day.
This was relegate threatened ONGC’s second win after they edged past Viva Kerala 1-0 in the first leg. Now the Mumbai team jacked up 13th position with 10 points, as many as Air India, who have one match in hand.
ONGC coach Subrata Bhattacharya lauded his players for winning against a high profile team.
In Kolkata Mohun Bagan and Pune FC drew 0-0 to share points at Yuba Bharati Krirangan.
In Margao holders Dempo SC beat Churchill Brothers 2-0, goals from Joaquim Abranches (12th min ) and (Ranty Martin/83rd min ).
In Bangalore HAL and JCT also drew 0-0.