A ten-man SC East Bengal held FC Goa 1-1 at the Fatorda Stadium on Wednesday. Even though the Kolkata giants could not win their second game, the goal scored by their new recruit Bright Enobakhare will be talked about for years.
The Red and Golds climbed a spot to ninth, with seven points from nine games. FC Goa, on the other hand, remain third with 15 points from 10 games.
The first half was a cagey affair with neither managing to break the deadlock. Debjit Majumdar was certainly the busier of the two goalkeepers but it was East Bengal who had the best opportunity of the opening 45 minutes.
SCEB won a throw-in, and Raju Gaikwad found an unmarked Daniel Fox at the far post, who failed to keep his header on target.
Goa continued to pile on the pressure on their opponents after the change of ends. SCEB's hopes of grabbing control of the game suffered a huge blow when Fox was sent off in the 56th minute. The SCEB captain received his marching orders for a rough challenge on Alexander Jesuraj.
The refereeing was again under the scanner as Goa did not get a red for a two-footed lunge while Fox saw red for a 50-50 challenge.
Despite the man-advantage, a defensive error from Goa almost gifted East Bengal the lead. Matti Steinmann pounced on a sloppy pass from Princeton Rebello and made his way into the box before firing his shot wide.
Soon after, The kolkata side were rewarded for their perseverance. And what a goal it was. Bright slalomed past the entire Goa defence, showing brilliant trickery and balance and calmly slotted past the keeper.
However, the Gaurs showed their fighting spirit as they equalised within a minute as SCEB's defence was caught napping. Saviour Gama delivered a cross at the near post and Murgaonkar rose high to put Goa on level terms. Goa have now gained nine points from losing positions.
SCEB head coach Robbie Fowler was delighted with the point but bemoaned the refereeing standards once again. "I think we did well. But every game we are up against the referee. And we have to live with that. Two players for went the ball, he (Daniel Fox) won the ball. I don't know why he was sent off. I hope it's only a one game ban. The attitude, intention and desire was brilliant from the team after being reduced to 10."