|Bhutia blasts East Bengal
The Indian Express
January 07, 1999
Calcutta: There were no surprises in a Group B NFL match at the Salt Lake stadium today. East Bengal beat FC Kochi 2-0 with Bhutia scoring both the goals, one in each half. While the first was a beautiful header off a Renedy Singh flag-kick, the second was a penalty conversion at the fag end of the match.
Skipper KV Dhanesh played well for FC Kochi in the first half, but faded after the break. IN fact, Dhanesh created the first scoring opportunity for his team in the 11th minute with a measured cross from the left. M. Shafeeq, however, could not reach the ball, The Kerala side got another opening in the 23rd minute when Ghanian Abu Jomo put Dhanesh clear. The captain’s attempt was saved by the East Bengal keeper Bibhas Ghosh.
These two moves apart, FC Kochi did little of note in the first half. Even though the defence was sticking to its task, the defenders underestimated Bhutia’s agility in the 35th minute. Renedy Singh’s flag kick floated towards the 6-yard box and Bhutia was airborne in a flash. The header entered the goal neatly even before the Kochi defenders could turn.
The second goal a result of spot kick awarded to East Bengal after Kochi
defender Prabhjot Singh handled Saroj Das’ shot inside the box in the 87th
minute. Bhutia converted the penalty to put the issue beyond Kochi.