The Red and Gold loyalists will certainly savor the victory over Odisha FC as East Bengal claim their first ISL campaign victory…
It took a long time for East Bengal to register their very first Indian Super League (ISL) victory, but they ultimately did so in their eighth game of the season by beating Odisha FC 3-1 on Sunday at Tilak Maidan . However, it wasn’t a dominant display as the score suggests, but East Bengal would gladly accept the three points which they have been striving for since the start of the campaign.
It was a game that could have gone both ways. Odisha created most of the chances and saw more ball throughout, but it was East Bengal who capitalized on their opportunities and sealed the game.
The three new signings for the January transfer window were presented by coach Robbie Fowler. As veteran Indian defender Raju Gaikwad, who returned to the Red and Golds after five years, started the game, Nigerian forward Bright Enobakhare and Ankit Mukherjee took over.
Gaikwad and Enobakhare had successful outings against Odisha. While Gaikwad’s long throw-in helped Anthony Pilkington’s opening goal, Enobakhare made an instant impact with the aim of getting his career off to a good start in East Bengal.
The Nigerian showed skillful touches on the ball and worked hard in the 20 minutes he was on the pitch. He was also applauded by experts for his appearance. Coach Robbie Fowler said: “Bright (Enobakhare) was fantastic. He made the game so easy. He looks like an incredible player. ”
While the attack looked strong and was at its best, the performance of the East Bengal backline remains a concern for the England manager. The defense looked unstable whenever Odisha fired back and had no response to the threats they posed. Had it not been for Debjit Majumder’s agility under the helm combined with the poor form of Odisha’s forwards, Fowler’s side may have had to come back empty-handed yet again.
In the absence of Sehnaj Singh, Milan Singh started the match. The Manipuri midfielder had a terrible outing as he failed to put any resistance in the center of the park and relinquished possession on the cheap. The return of the suspended Sehnaj will certainly help resolve this issue for Fowler.
While East Bengal finally claimed their first victory of the season, the situation remained grim for Stuart Baxter’s Odisha who are struggling at the bottom of the table with just two points from their opening eight games.
Baxter kept a starting lineup unchanged for the fourth straight game and once again the momentum backfired. What is the message this sends to the rest of the players on the squad. Certainly this will not help the confidence of the players on the bench as the coach did not give them many opportunities and persists with those who did not make it to the mark.
Odisha had her moments in the game, but their debauchery in advance and a leaky defense didn’t help their cause.
With a relatively young Indian contingent at his disposal, Baxter relied heavily on his foreign players to click, but with the exception of South African midfielder Cole Alexander, none of Odisha’s foreign players have succeeded so far. . The British coach has a tough job to do – which is to reverse his fortunes. It’s Odisha’s worst start to a campaign and certainly every team would jump at the chance to play against them to improve their season.