SC East Bengal on Sunday finally ticked all the boxes to register their first-ever win of their debut Indian Super League season as they beat Odisha FC 3-1 in Vasco.
In the contest between the two bottom-placed team of the ongoing ISL edition, the Red and Gold brigade rode to their first victory on goals from Anthony Pilkington (12th) and Jacques Maghoma (39th) and debutant Bright Enobakhare (88th) at the Tilak Maidan.
The result took the tally of Robbie Fowler’s men to six points from eight matches. They are tied with Kerala Blasters in terms of points but sit one place below them on goal difference. Odisha FC, meanwhile, continued to stay at the pit.
SCEB’s win in their maiden ISL season came in their eighth match as they climbed to ninth place ahead of Kerala Blasters with six points, while Odisha remained winless.
Everything fell in place for the Robbie Fowler-coached side from the start.
Fowler made two changes to his line-up as Surchandra Singh and Sehnaj Singh were replaced by Milan Singh and Raju Gaikwad.
It was the season’s debutant, Gaikwad, who initiated the goal-scoring move with a nice long throw-in near the post.
The ball bounced in towards the far post where Pilkington capitalised on a defensive lapse to rise above the man at the far post before calmly heading it in.
The goalkeeping, too, was spot on from Debjit Majumder who effected a couple of spectacular saves to ensure they retained their lead.
Manuel Onwu directed a perfect header goalwards but Majumder averted the danger in the 17th minute.
Two minutes later, Majumder was at it again, and this time he denied a Diego Mauricio header from the right side of the box.
East Bengal went on to double their lead with Matti Steinmann providing the assist to Maghoma who made a powerful run and got past two OFC defenders before making a fine finish from an acute angle.
Luck, too, eluded the Odisha team on more than one occasion and, in the 57th minute, Jerry’s shot from an Onwu assist hit the upright.
In the 61st minute, Jacob Tratt’s header bounced to beat the SCEB goalkeeper Majumder but not the woodwork.
Fowler pressed Enobakhare in place of Maghoma in the 73rd minute and the 22-year-old Nigerian scored on his debut in what was a fine team effort by the SCEB forwards.
With PTI inputs