A 4-2 loss against a West Asian side in an away match. Those who know the records of Indian football clubs against West Asian teams would take this result gladly.
But East Bengal were lucky that the story in the second half was not a repeat of the first half where they conceded 3 goals. Down by 4-0 at 48′ into the game, East Bengal have shown real character by pulling two goals back for themselves. Two away goals would keep them in great stead for the upcoming second leg in Kolkata on 22nd December.
But what East Bengal fans would be left to think for a while is that could the story in the away match have been a little different, possibly in their favour?
Now Kuwait SC, by far, has better foreign recruits. Their striker Isaam Jemaa who pumped two goals has been the highest scorer in the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations and has plenty experience from his stints in the French Ligue 2. Compared to that, James Moga would get much lower rating for sure.
But East Bengal literally won the second half by 2-1. Introduction of Cavin Lobo in place of ineffective Robert and Lalrindika Ralte in place of Khabra and a change in intent is all that was required. The way East Bengal approached in the starting of the match, it seemed Falopa was overawed by the opponents strength. With an ultra-defensive 4-4-2 formation with the creative midfielder literally brought down to defensive roles, their was practically no threat from the East Bengal forward line.
Ralte showed us how vulnerable the Kuwait SC defense was on both the occasions where East Bengal scored. The first goal was scored from a world class corner taken by Ralte that found Uga’s head unmarked. The second goal was even better with Ralte receiving a through ball from co-substitute Cavin Lobo and after dodging the defender with in-step, slotted the ball home with a powerful shot to the far corner, truly world class!
Kuwait SC defense, in fact, was hardly tested in the first half. If Falopa had chosen the right formation with attacking mindset rather than looking for draw, the result could have been more favourable for the Red & Gold team. Though this would annoy Marcos Falopa, it is needless to say that this is where TJ Morgan was ahead of him. He had the right intent.