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Visitors field U-19 side in exhibition match,beat Delhi XI 1-0.
In the end,the near five thousand crowd present at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium,apparently all East Bengal fans,breathed a sigh of relief when the Kolkata-based team pipped Delhi XI 1-0 in an exhibition match organised by the Vinay Marg Bengali Sr Sec School on Tuesday.
But the scoreline doesn’t suggest the real picture,with one of the giants of Indian football East Bengal winning against the run of play. The visitors had fielded their U-19 side and it was Delhi that dominated ball posession,but failed to make use of it.
Despite the disadvantage of not holding on to the ball for long stretches,the visitors came out winners through the strike from Seiminlenn Doungel. The player showed deft ball control from the right and after dodging the Delhi defence,slotted home the solitary goal for East Bengal during the second half.
Doungel and skipper Saikat Sha Ray were the only experienced campaigners who had some experience with the senior side in major tournaments like the I-League and the Kolkata league in a team full of youngsters. Despite the experience,the duo did not look very comfortable under pressure when Delhi looked to dominate,but coach Tarun Dey came to their defense.
“It’s just a matter of how the team combination works. Currently senior members are playing and juniors like Ray,Doungel have been sent with the current side to get some match practice. The irony is that major tournaments are only I-league and Federation Cup,where mostly experienced members are given a chance and the juniors don’t at all get to play such tournaments. We last played two matches in August in Jalpaigudi and won the tournament.
Juniors like these need more tournaments and I have requested the authorities if junior tournaments can be organised in Maharashtrta,Goa,Bengal etc,it would lend a great help to the future of Indian football,” Dey said.
The East Bengal coach Dey also said that the lack of match practice back home that meant the team was rusty during the current outing performance.
“In Kolkata,all the grounds are currently blocked by the army as a matter of safety in the city and we didn’t even get our regular practice sessions. The lead could have been two-nil if Soumen would have just tapped the ball in the box,to a cross fed by Doungel.
But that is just because we didn’t have enough practice coming into the game. If we play more matches,the youngsters would be in a better position to make use of opportunities and take up positions to score goals. You can’t miss those in a big match,” added the former India player Dey,who was a part of the 1986 Asian Games.