Naorem Mahesh Singh’s goal propels East Bengal FC to 1-0 win over Mumbai City FC

Riding Naorem Mahesh Singh’s 52 nd minute strike, East Bengal FC beat Mumbai City FC 1-0 at the Mumbai Football Arena on Sunday (February 19) evening. While it was EBFC’s maiden Hero ISL win over the Islanders, MCFC lost at home for the first time this season.

EBFC Head Coach Stephen Constantine made a solitary change to the starting XI for the game as Alex Lima replaced Jordan O’Doherty.

East Bengal FC eclipsed past a string of incoming attacks from the home side in the first quarter of the game. The EBFC players then started taking control of the game and created a few chances.

In the 8 th minute of the game, V.P. Suhair whipped in a solid cross from the right flank that went to Cleiton Silva. Cleiton then headed it to Jake Jervis, but the English forward’s shot went wide of the target.

In the 22 nd minute, EBFC had another chance to take the lead. Jervis received a lovely ball from the midfield region and he executed a brilliant grounded cross towards Cleiton, but the Brazilian forward got caught up in the traffic inside the penalty box as the chance went amiss.

In the 37 th minute, Naorem Mahesh Singh made a soft pass to Cleiton. The leading goal- scorer of Hero ISL 2022-23 took an explosive shot, but it was stopped by MCFC skipper Mourtada Fall.

Minutes before half-time, MCFC’s Ayush Chikkara set up Lallianzuala Chhangte with a cross, but EBFC custodian Kamaljit Singh saved it. Kamaljit pulled off several brilliant saves in the game, which saw him become the first goalkeeper this season to register a cleansheet against the Islanders.

Post the half-time break, it didn’t take EBFC much time to break the deadlock as Naorem Mahesh Singh scored his second goal this season in the 52 nd minute. Cleiton’s low ball from the right was left by Suhair, before Mahesh unleashed a golazo and drove it home past MCFC goalkeeper Phurba Lachenpa.

In the 57th minute, Lalchungnunga made a crucial intervention to keep Chhangte at bay. The Mizo defender made a headed clearance to nullify a fiery shot from the MCFC attacker.

In the 76 th minute, Suhair had a double chance to score. His first shot towards the goal was stopped by Lachenpa and his second attempt to chip it past the keeper went in vain as Lachenpa stopped it.

In the closing stages of the game, the Red & Golds faced a barrage of attacks, but remained defensively organised to keep their slender lead intact.

It was EBFC’s sixth win in the current Hero ISL season and they now stand in the ninth place with 19 points from as many games (6 wins, 1 draw and 12 defeats). MCFC, meanwhile, lifted the League Winners Shield for the second time despite suffering their first defeat at home this season.

The Red & Golds will take on arch rivals ATK Mohun Bagan in the Kolkata derby at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan next Saturday (February 25).