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Centenary club Quess East Bengal (QEB) returned to winning ways, putting it across Indian Arrows 3-1 at Mumbai’s Cooperage stadium on Monday evening.
Jamie Santos Colado, Asheer Akhtar and Didika Ralte scored for the Red and Golds while Vikram Partap got his fourth goal of the 13th Hero I-League season after missing a penalty, to get his side on the scoresheet.
Quess East Bengal, following the result, got out of relegation zone and climbed to sixth on the table with 15 points from 12 games. The Arrows continue to remain rooted at the bottom with eight points after having played the same number of games.
The Red & Golds took an early lead in the game when a long ball from their own half was headed down by Espada onto the path of his countryman Colado. The Spaniard unleashed a thunderous left-footed volley across keeper Lalbiakhula Jongte’s goal to bulge the net in the fourth minute.
After the high-tempo start to the half, it clocked only two shots on target and three corners (all against Indian Arrows) as the visitors took the break with their lead intact.
The Venkatesh-coached side had a chance to be back into the game just 30 seconds into the second half when Abhash Thapa handled the ball off a Nikhil Raj shot inside the box. The referee pointed to the spot but Vikram Partap shot wide.
To the talented youngster’s credit, he made amends with a stunner of a strike in the 54th minute of the game, when he stole the ball off defender Asheer Akhtar’s feet with a brave header and followed up with a composed finish past Mawia Ralte in the Quess East Bengal goal, to even things up. Ayush Adhikari also deserved praise for spotting Vikram’s run with a measured long ball from well inside their own half.
Their joy was shortlived however as the visitors struck twice off as many corners within a space of four minutes to put things beyond their reach.
First, it was Kromah’s drive that earned them the first corner. It was floated in by Brandon and Samad Mallick came running into the near post to deflect a header towards the path of Asheer Akhtar. It was the diminutive defender’s chance to make amends as he made no mistake with the connection for his first goal of the season.
With Brandon having being replaced by Juan Mera, the second corner was taken by Colado. Hero of the Match Didika Ralte, this time, placed himself on the first post and rose higher than his marker to lodge a powerful header past a hapless Jongte for the third and final time in the match.
Indian Arrows tried their best but Mario Rivera's boys did enough to slow the tempo down and play out the last few minutes for a convincing victory.
Quess East Bengal will make their journey all the way to Imphal to face TRAU on February 23, 2020 whereas Indian Arrows will travel to Srinagar to face the Snow Leopards one day later.