New year turns SC East Bengal fortunes, return to winning ways

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Goa: A historic afternoon ended in joy for SC East Bengal sealing their first ever win in the Indian Super League when they beat Odisha FC 3-1 at the Tilak Maidan in Goa on Sunday(January 3). Anthony Pilkington, Jacques Maghoma and Bright Enobakhare netted for the home side while Diego Mauricio netted one for the visitors.

 

Coach Robbie Fowler set up his side in a 4-1-4-1 formation with Scott Neville being paired with Daniel Fox at the middle of the defence. Milan Singh played deep in the midfield as a pivot while Mohammed Rafique and Anthony Pilkington acting as wide players completed a four man midfield along with the duo of Hainan Tomba Singh and Matti Steinmann starting in the middle of the park. Jacques Maghoma surprisingly played upfront as a central striker.

The match started with East Bengal turning up heat right from the kick showing their intent. Eventually they opened the scoring through Anthony Pilkington who headed it from a throw from newly signed Raju Gaikwad.

The lead was extended through Maghoma who went on his own beating players with his pace, physicality and composure unleashing a fierce shot into the net to which goalkeeper Arshdeep Singh had no answer.

But despite going ahead, East Bengal lacked composure towards the end of the half giving away balls  in dangerous areas of the pitch as Odisha created dangerous opportunities but failed to capitalize and they were also unfortunate as the cross bar came to the rescue of East Bengal.

Pilkington proved to be a stunning signing for the home side as he was all-over the pitch running his heart out trying to control game in that attacking midfield area dropping deep more often despite being a striker.

Odisha despite having fair amount of players with aerial prowess were unable to capitalize chances largely due to poor deliveries into the box while they tried hard towards the final phase of the game but East Bengal kept their spirit high at the back.

Debutant Bright Enobakhare came on in the 73rd minute of the game and looked very good from the first touch, combining well and providing accurate passes which created further control on the game for East Bengal. Bright got his reward as he put the ball into the back of the net in the 88th minute and secured certain 3 points and debut win for his squad in ISL.

Though Odisha got one back through Diego Mauricio but that was more of a consolation as the home side sealed a win for the history books.

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