Bhubaneswar: Amid vociferous supporters at Kalinga Stadium, Kolkata-based I-League club East Bengal defeated Mumbai City FC by 2-1 goals in the seventh pre-quaterfinal game of the Super Cup Football Tournament today. Yusa Katsumi scored the opening goal for East Bengal in the 26th minute while Mahmoud Al Amna found the back of the net in the 73rd.
East Bengal tried to dominate from the very beginning and the entire first half belonged to the Kolkata-based I-League club. In the 11th minute, Japanese midfielder Yusa Katsumi passed the ball to striker Omegbemi Didi who tried to sneak through the defenders but was eventually blocked inside the box.
Again the Mumbai defenders looked very tentative inside the box in the 16th minute when East Bengal players attacked in numbers but the ball was eventually cleared.
Despite East Bengal keeping possession of the ball for most of the time, the first goal of the game came for Mumbai City FC through a direct free-kick. Sahil Tavora was brought down by Edu Soares just outside the box and Mumbai City was awarded a free-kick. Achille Edzimbi first hit the crossbar but the ball deflected into the post giving the ISL side an early lead in the 22nd minute.
The lead for Mumbai City lasted only for four minutes as East Bengal got a free-kick which was converted by Yusa Katsumi. Laldanmawia Ralte's free-kick from the right flank found Katsumi who headed the ball to score the equaliser for East Bengal.
East Bengal then tried to dominate the rest of the half. Number of attacks by East Bengal went in-vain though and the scoreline remained 1-1 at half-time.
After the change of sides, East Bengal resumed the game with the same attacking mindset. Yusa Katsumi took the ball from Zameer Mundampara in the midfield and went for glory himself inside the Mumbai City penalty area in the 53rd minute but Mumbai goalie Amrinder Singh stopped the ball.
Sehnaj Singh of Mumbai went for a low long ranger in the 56th minute after getting the ball from Balwant Singh inside the box. The kick was too wide to trouble the goalkeeper.
For almost 15 more minutes, the game revolved around the midfield.
In the 73rd minute, East Bengal came back strong to break the deadlock. Laldanmawia Ralte's shot on target was punched by Mumbai goalie Amrinder but the ball went to Saudi Arabian Mahmoud Al Amna who made no mistake in scoring from the rebound. With 17 minutes to go, East Bengal took a 2-1 lead in the game.
Mumbai City FC got a few chances after that but none went on to trouble the East Bengal goalie because of alert defenders. Mumbai failed to do anything in the added time of four minutes as well and East Bengal comfortably booked its berth in the quarter-finals.
Mahmoud Al Amna won the Hero of the Match award for his splendid play and a goal when it mattered most. East Bengal will now meet another I-League side Aizwal FC in the quarter-finals.
In the last pre-quaterfinal encounter tomorrow, Sachin Tendulkar-owned Kerala Blasters will take on Manipuri team Neroca FC.