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ISL 2023: Assistant coach George pleased with East Bengal FC's comeback win against Kerala Blasters (WATCH)

Kerala Blasters FC suffered a 4-2 loss to East Bengal FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi on Wednesday as the Yellow Army fell to a crushing defeat a day after they qualified for the Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24 playoffs.

football ISL 2023: Assistant coach George pleased with East Bengal FC's comeback win against Kerala Blasters (WATCH) snt
First Published Apr 4, 2024, 12:12 PM IST

The assistant coach of East Bengal FC expressed satisfaction as his team staged a comeback against Kerala Blasters FC in the Indian Super League (ISL) match at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi on Wednesday.

Although the Red and Gold Brigade began the game, it was the home team that capitalized on a mistake from East Bengal FC, taking the lead courtesy of Fedor Cernych. However, the visitors bounced back with Saul Crespo converting from the penalty spot shortly after Jeakson Singh was shown a red card by the referee.

Crespo scored his second goal of the night in the 71st minute, putting the visitors ahead. The Blasters' troubles continued as Noacha Singh was also sent off a few minutes later. Naorem Mahesh Singh extended the lead, but the Blasters managed to narrow the deficit with an own goal by Hijazi Maher. Nevertheless, Mahesh struck again, securing the two-goal advantage and clinching the crucial three points.

East Bengal FC made strategic substitutions at halftime, replacing Aleksandar Pantic and Sayan Banerjee with the more attacking players Victor Vazquez and Harmanjot Singh Khabra.

George highlighted the impact of these halftime changes, emphasizing how they enabled the Red and Gold Brigade to seize control of the game and secure their first comeback victory in an away match in the ISL.

“After half time, we made changes. We discussed with each other during the break and sent out the substitutions. So we are very happy (with the outcome). They (Kerala Blasters FC) were also one man down during the break, which helped us” George stated in the post-match press conference.

The Kolkata team is gearing up to confront Bengaluru FC in their penultimate league match at home on Sunday. They find themselves in a situation where they need to win both of their remaining games and hope for favorable results in other matches to qualify for the playoff stage.

“We are looking forward to the next match. We want to go to the top six that is our aim. Our head coach has a plan and we will stick to the same plan,” he added.

East Bengal FC has introduced numerous young players to the field this season, and despite their limited playing opportunities, they have made notable contributions to the game.

Aman CK, a 21-year-old winger hailing from Kerala, made his debut as a substitute and played a crucial role in winning possession, ultimately setting up Crespo for the team's second goal.

“Coach Carles wants to put in more youngsters in the team and they are doing a fantastic job for the team. (When) they get more opportunities they will get groomed,” George stated.

Following this triumph, the Red and Gold Brigade have surged up four spots, currently occupying sixth place in the table with 21 points from 20 matches, trailing Bengaluru FC by just a single point.

George is confident that the win against the Blasters will elevate the team's morale as they approach the remaining two crucial matches.

“Kerala Blasters FC is a good side, and they have already qualified for the playoffs. So, everybody in our team will be motivated by this win,” he said.

“They (players) are working hard, they want to qualify for the playoffs. Not only has the players or the coaching staffs, but everybody has that one goal - (to qualify for the playoffs),” George added.

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