Bhubaneswar, East Bengal won a hard-fought I-League game defeating Indian Arrows 2-1 at the Kalinga Stadium here on Tuesday.
Laldanmawia converted a penalty to give East Bengal the lead in the 26th minute before Jobby Justin (64th) doubled the advantage in the second half. Ninthoi was the lone scorer for Indian Arrows, bulging the net from the penalty spot in the 90th minute.
East Bengal remain at the fifth spot in the 11-team table with 19 points from 10 matches. Indian Arrows are ninth with 10 points from 11 matches.
The first half saw both teams making equal attempts but the strong defence line of the young Arrows and the experience of East Bengal ensured that neither of the teams got any clear chance to score.
A large portion of the game that was being played on the mid-field saw some good competition between the youngsters and the experienced side from Kolkata.
However, it was the Arrows who were the first to attempt a real chance to score when a long ball pass from Rahul KP was collected well by Vikram Pratap leading to a beautiful cross from the right, but unfortunately, he could not direct it properly and the chance petered out.
East Bengal, on the other hand, were playing mostly from the midfield and were trying to pick opportunities on the counter.
Their experience soon came to play a role minutes later when Jaime Santos played a fantastic pass from the left into the Arrows box to Laldanmaiwa who made no mistake in finding the back of the net, giving Quess East Bengal the lead.
Thereafter, East Bengal started pressing hard and they were rewarded again in the 30th minute when an unnecessary foul from Indian Arrows defender Jitendra Singh was made on Laldanmaiwa inside the box. Didicka, who took the penalty, failed to double the lead for his side thanks to a fantastic save from Indian Arrows goalkeeper Prabhsukhan Gill.
East Bengal made a few attempts to increase their lead but failed to breach the Arrows defence line. The first 45 minutes of the game ended with East Bengal having a solitary goal lead against the Arrows.
The second half began with the Indian Arrows pressing hard. Their attacks, at regular intervals, did create some trouble for East Bengal, but the lack of a good finish from the Arrows forwards kept them away from scoring an equaliser.
East Bengal, however, slowly came back to their attacking ways exploiting the occasional defensive lapse, but were not successful in getting their second goal. However, the Arrows were soon punished for their errors inside their own box when Jobby Justin scored Quess East Bengal’s second goal in the 64th minute on a rebound which Arrows goalkeeper Prabhsukhan Gill failed to collect properly while saving an attempt to score from Samad.
The game that suddenly took a very physical turn, saw two red cards in the second half, one to Quess East Bengal’s Lalram Chullova in the 56th minute, and then in the 84th minute to Aniket Jadhav of Indian Arrows (second yellow card).
The Arrows, however, did not give up and kept up their attacks, hoping to reduce the two-goal deficit. Their efforts were soon rewarded when a foul on Ashish Rai from East Bengal’s Manoj ensured the hosts a penalty in the 89th minute.
Ninthoi took the penalty to score for the Arrows in the 90th minute, bringing the scoreline to 1-2, still in favour of the visitors. Arrows did create a few attempts post this to find an equaliser, but the opponents ensured that the young hosts posted no further threat to their lead, thereby bagging the three points.