East Bengal goes down fighting to Al Safa
Riding on Rafael Mbassi first-half goal Al Safa club of Lebanon scored a fighting solitary goal victory over their rivals East Bengal of India in their opening AFC Cup encounter at the Beirut’s Sports City Stadium on Tuesday.
Rafael Mbassi 18th minute strike turned out to be the match winner with both the teams couldn’t be able to find a goal further. Safa deservingly earned three points and the win takes them to top of their Group as fellow teams Ahli Sana’a and Al Wihdat ended their game in a 1-1 draw, which also means that East Bengal is now the bottom placed team.
Safa came into the action in the 16th minute of the game when medio Amer Khan’s 30-yard free-kick shot hit the crossbar denying them a sure goal. But couple of minutes later, Mohamed Korhani’s cross from the left found an unmarked Mbassi, who slotted the ball at the back of the net.
The Cameroonian forward could have doubled the lead soon for Lebanese outfit but agile rival custodian Subrata Pal came in his way to stop his charge. The home team could have easily added a few more to their scoreline but the hero of the day Subrata Pal saved the day for the Red and Gold brigade thwarting opponent’s attacks on various occasions.
East Bengal’s foreign recruit Edmilson Marques found a great chance to level the terms just before the breather but he squandered the opportunity as his shot from hand shaking distance went over the bar.
The home side were also rewarded with a penalty kick in the injury time of the second half after substitute Rony Azar was brought down inside the box by the East Bengal custodian Subrata Pal. Ramez Dayoub made the mess of the golden opportunity by shooting it wide.
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