Calcutta: Edeh Chidi scored one and set up another for Lalrindika Ralte to help Kingfisher East Bengal edge past Pailan Arrows 2-1 in an I-League match at the Kalyani Stadium on Saturday. Alwyn George had given Arrows the lead in the second minute. All the goals were scored in the first half.
In the process, the red-and-gold brigade moved to the top of the table with 39 points from 19 matches. East Bengal maintained their unbeaten record against the Arrows.
However, what marred the win was Manandeep Singh's act of senselessness in the 75th minute. The striker unnecessarily saw a red card and will be missing the side's next two matches, including the Derby against Bagan.
Even before the teams could settle down into the match, Arrows went into the lead. Vishal Kumar's throw, deep into the East Bengal box, was met by Milan Singh, who back-headed the ball to Alwyn. The striker hit a powerful drive to score in the second minute.
Struck by the reverse, East Bengal players needed to show character. They did not disappoint the partisan crowd, showing enough desire and purpose not only to draw level but also to take the lead in the next 28 minutes.
Chidi scored the equaliser in the fifth minute through a penalty. Arrows 'keeper Soram Poirei tripped Chidi inside the box and the referee pointed to the dreaded spot. The Nigerian stepped up to calmly convert from the spot.
East Bengal could have extended the lead in the 30th minute. Seeing that Poirei was a long way off his line, Andrew Barisic showed great presence of mind as he tried to chip the ball from the midfield. But, the ball missed the target by a few inches.
A minute later, East Bengal, however, took the lead. Chidi made his way into the box before lobbing the ball, which was met with a weak clearance from Vishal.
The ball landed at the feet of Ralte, who obliged by placing it past Poirei.
In the second half, however, it was Arrows who controlled the game. by playing brilliant football in the midfield.