Kolkata: East Bengal ended Bengaluru FC's flawless start to the I-League campaign with a 2-1 win at the Barasat Stadium, in Kolkata, on Sunday. CK Vineeth's opener for Bengaluru was matched with an Ivan Bukenya tap in before second-half substitute Robin Singh got the winner in the 79th minute.
Albert Roca made just one change from the side that beat Mumbai FC on Wednesday, replacing Nishu Kumar with Sena Ralte at left-back. Vineeth shot Bengaluru to the lead in the 23rd minute after Eugeneson Lyngdoh's run down the left was perfectly cut back into the path of the striker who put it past TP Rehenesh with a firm strike to silence the home fans.
But East Bengal needed just five minutes to draw level when Bukenya caught the Blues' defence off-guard and turned in a low corner to make it 1-1. Tempers flared when Sunil Chhetri was brought down by Mehtab Hossain, and both sides went into half-time with the scores level. Trevor Morgan brought on striker Robin Singh in the second half, who replaced Ildar Amirov, who had an evening to forget.
The change seemed to work as the former Bengaluru man drew Amrinder Singh into a save, hit the crossbar and slid in a delightful cross that Plaza, with an open goal at his mercy, missed completely. But for all his individual brilliance, it was a lapse in defence that Robin capitalized on to make it 2-1 in the 79th minute. A rare error in judgment saw the ball skim off John Johnson's head and fall into the path of Robin's run.
With only Amrinder to beat, the striker made no mistake as he slotted calmly past the 'keeper to give the home side a late lead. The Blues threw everything they had at a stubborn East Bengal defence as shots from Chhetri and Vineeth were saved by Rehenesh. A Lyngdoh effort sailed high in the dying minutes as Morgan's side held on for their third consecutive win of the season.
Bengaluru FC next travel to Goa where they will face Churchill Brothers, on Friday, while East Bengal will travel to Minerva Punjab FC next Sunday.
Mahmoud stunner downs Mumbai FC
Aizawl FC beat hosts Mumbai FC 1-0 in a fourth round I-League encounter at the Cooperage ground.
The only goal of the match was a superb effort in the 79th minute by Syrian Mahmoud Al Amna, who positioned himself perfectly to meet a cross from the left which he blasted home with an angular drive beating MFC keeper Laxmikant Kattimani all ends up.