How hard is it for a strong team on paper to match their potential in the Indian Super League?
For the SC East Bengal, this may just be a disturbing and frustrating question, as the Robbie Fowler-coached team lost to Northeastern United on Saturday in their third loss.
And, like their opening two matches, East Bengal did not go down and were the dominant team for most of the game. This includes exciting attacks by Master Mind by Anthony Pilkington and Jacques Maghoma, a couple sure cries for fines, a few close shaves, and several sets of Peace opportunities.
However, in the end, all their good work was canceled out by a disciplined NEUFC defense led by Benjamin Lambotte and two counterattacks that gave the Highlanders a 2-0 win at Tilak Ground and finished second in the league table.
East Bengal started well and on several occasions were dangerous. However, NEUFC scored a spectacular performance in the 33rd minute against the run of the game and took just 13.8 seconds to counter.
Idrissa Silla collected the ball in midfield and sent a long pass to right-hander Kwesi Appiah. When Narayan Das failed to close the gap between the Ghanaian and his Guinean teammate waiting in the box, Appayya sent Sila on the cross, failing to connect with it. But to the misfortune of the Kolkata giants, the ball turned to Surchandra Singh’s feet and to the goal.
In a disappointment for Strike SC East Bengal, ISL freshmen maintained their momentum and advanced to their first goal of the league. If Fowler has withdrawn his earlier comment on the Indian players after their last match, it is clear that their chief striker Balwant Singh could not read and keep pace with former Premier League players. Coach also realized the looseness and replaced him with CK Vineeth in the second half.
But that did not change much as Pilkington and Mahoma’s responsibility on the creativity and skill to find the inescapable first strike and decisive equation.
On the other hand, the young NEUFC had no problem developing from the determination of Indian youth and the hard work of foreigners. Most impressive was winger Ninthoy Meetie, whose strength from running backs and his enthusiasm to return to defend were the highlight of the Highlanders game.
The final nail in the coffin was in the 91st minute by VP. Suhari was caught by his brilliant run and cross, which was sent to the net by Rocharjela to make East Bengal groan under the ISL table.

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