Photo Credit: ISL Media Twitter
ISL: Steinmann brace earns East Bengal a point. SC East Bengal held Chennaiyin FC for a 2-2 draw on Saturday night at the Tilak Maidan Stadium in Vasco.
A brace from German midfielder Matti Steinmann helped the hosts snatch a point from the visitors, who had the lead to themselves courtesy goals form Lallianzuala Chhangte and Rahim Ali.
The match begun with SC East Bengal trying to assert dominance and they were the better of the two sides in terms of buildup and attack, but it was Chennaiyin who scored first against the run of play.
In the 13th minute, Jakub Sylvestr played a through ball to Lallianzuala Chhangte who sped down the left flank and slot the ball past the keeper Debjit Majumder to earn the Machans the lead. The goal helped the Machans grow in confidence as they started to see more of the ball and had chances to increase the lead.
Chances were between few and far for the hosts, but they were promising. Jacques Maghoma had an opportunity in the 29th minute to equalize when the Congolese chested down the ball but his touch was too heavy and custodian Vishal Kaith made most of it to avert the threat. The best chance of the half fell to Mohammed Rafique who received a floated ball, and was in a 1v1 situation with Vishal Kaith after breaking the offside trap, but the winger in an attempt to dribble past the keeper failed to take a shot as Deepak Tangri was able to track back in to clear the ball out of play. The scoreline remained in the favour of the visitors at the break.
The Red and Gold brigade's persistence paid off finally in the second half. Daniel Fox's shot was blocked by the Chennaiyin defence which led to a corner. The resulting corner from Bikash Jairu was headed into the left side of the goal by Matti Steinmann to restore the parity in the 59th minute.
This was followed by a befitting reply from the hosts who needed only a few minutes to get the lead again. Jakub Sylvestr was once again the assist provider as Rahim Ali put the ball calmly into the back of the net.
The Machans had a couple more chances to extend the lead when Jakub Sylvestr had a shy at the goal, which was saved by Debjit. Another chance fell to Enes Sipovic who was denied a goal by the crossbar.
SCEB upped the ante and finally managed to restore the parity yet again through Steinmann as the German latched onto a loose clearance from Vishal following a corner which he poked into the back of the net.
The Machans had opportunities to earn the lead but they couldn't make the most of it. In the 76th minute Jakub Sylvestr won the ball off a poor back pass from Milan Singh but he shot the ball wide of the target.
The scoreline remained 2-2 at the blow of the whistle as East Bengal had another draw for them.
SC East Bengal head coach Robbie Fowler was satisfied with the team's efforts, “If you see the way we played in the first half, there were a lot of things that were satisfying,” Fowler said at the post-match press conference.
“In terms of the way the game went, it was important that we didn't lose and our lads showed a lot of fight because this was a game that we didn't deserve to lose. In the second half, we upped the tempo and the desire and attitude towards the game. At times, we looked good going forward,” he added.
Fowler was pleased with the team's improvement in the past few matches, “We are trying and giving our everything. At times we are a little bit hesitant while defending. We have shown that we can score goals. We’re not a million miles away from where we need to be,” said the Englishman.
He also praised Steinmann for the performance he put up on the pitch, "He is a good player. He popped up with two great goals. He has put in a really good shift since he has been at this club. He is one of the players who fights till the very end,” Fowler said.
Chennaiyin FC head coach Csaba Laszlo was disappointed with the outcome, "We lost two points. It was very hard to get these points because when we create chances we have to score and this is something we are currently missing. We need to be self-critical of our performance. We created chances but could not score so I am disappointed,” he said.
The coach spoke highly of Lallianzuala Chhangte, “I have been working individually with Chhangte and the goal he scored is something he deserved. I know that he will continue to score goals,” he said.