East Bengal stormed into the pre-quarterfinals of AFC Cup after their 2-1 win over Singapore giants Tampines Rovers in a Group H league match on Tuesday.
The Federation Cup champions led 1-0 at half-time with Chidi Edeh’s 23rd minute strike on a hot and muggy afternoon at the Yubabharati Krirangan. The Singapore league leaders found the equaliser through Shaiful Esah in the 69th minute.
But East Bengal had the last laugh when Lalrindika Ralte fired in the winner in the 87th minute. The red-and-gold brigade remained on top position in Group H with 10 points from four matches to almost seal their last 16 knock-out berth. This was East Bengal’s second successive win against the defending S-League champions after their 4-2 win in Singapore last week.
Churchill eye away win
Singapore: Churchill Brothers would look to seal their first away win when they take on Warriors FC in a crucial AFC Cup group match on Wednesday. The side has been bolstered by the return of their star striker Sunil Chhetri,who was granted a visa at the last minute after Sports Authority of India asked Ministry of External Affairs to intervene.
A win for Churchill against their opponents,whom they had beaten 3-0 in the home leg in Pune on April 2,would keep them in the hunt for a pre-quarterfinal berth. Churchill are third in the group with four points from three matches.
Chhetri and Arezou are expected to reach early on the match day and they will be available for the Group E match,but the team management will have to take a call on whether the duo would be played or not since they will miss the team practice.
“I will have to take a decision if they can start the match since they might be experiencing jet lag. We have some important matches coming up in our domestic league and to be honest we have not played a full strength squad in any of our AFC Cup matches since our first target is to win I-League,” said Technical Director,Subhash Bhowmick,at the pre-match press conference.
“Chhetri will not want to sit on bench,so I will most probably rest Arezou. But I do hope to rest Chhetri and get him ready for our game against Dempo,” he said.
“The boys are proud to represent their country in such a prestigious continental tournament but we have to maintain a balance so as to not hamper our chances of winning the I-League. I am satisfied with our performance in AFC Cup so far with four points from three matches,” he added.