Resolute East Bengal Defence earn valuable point in Mumbai

Clinching another clean sheet this time in the home of shield winners Mumbai City FC, the boys earned a valuable point on the road to stay on the hunt for a spot in the playoffs.

Going into the penultimate fixture of 2023, the Red and Gold Brigade started the game pretty well, matching Mumbai at every turn to get the fixture off to an exciting start.

The hosts enjoyed the bulk of the possession but the Red and Gold Defence stood resolute, keeping out any dangerous moves from the opposition.

The first half of the game saw some feisty duels between the players as the referee brandished as many as 5 yellow cards before closing out the first half.

Going into the second half, both sides looked to seize the initiative, looking to score the opener.

To force the issue, Coach Cuadrat introduced Nandha in place of Vishnu straight after the break.

Both sides had half chances early in the second half but both defences were upto to the task.

Hijazi Maher, was particularly impressive, leading the defence admirably, clinching the season record for most clearances in a games, claiming 14 clearances in total through the course of the game.

Nunga, Nishu and Mandar also ensured there were no major mistakes at the back and Custodian Gill had yet another strong showing in between the nets, earning the praise of the fans and the neutrals.

Looking for a winner in the dying minutes of the game, Coach Carles brought on Siverio in the 82nd minute for his final change of the night.

With both defences not willing to give an inch, the game ended with the score tied 0-0 and both teams had to settle for a point.

With the point East Bengal climbed to 7th place, moving ahead of the Highlanders on goal difference.

Speaking to the media after the game, Coach Cuadrat praised the boys for what he described as a solid, professional performance.

“We have one more point. I think it’s going to be a league with a lot of draws, with a lot of teams fighting for the (top) six slots in the league. So all these points help us to get close to the places. But at the same time, we have to get victories to try to fight for that place (top six spots),”

“Until now we have had too many draws and only two victories. But I think that the team is working in the right direction to make these draws into three points,” he added.

East Bengal FC will next host Odisha at the Salt Lake Stadium in the final fixture of the year ahead of the international break and upcoming Super Cup.

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