Siliguri: In the second group-C match at Siliguri, East Bengal salvaged a shaky start to prevail over a 10-man ONGC FC 2-1. Making a racy start, ONGC gained the lead early off a ninth minute goal from Japanese midfielder Katsumi Yusa. East Bengal regrouped thereafter and succeeded in finding the equaliser through Nigerian Edeh Chidi in the injury-time of the first half. Manandeep Singh, a second half substitute, found the winner in the 82nd minute after Yusa was marched off with a red in the 78th minute.
East Bengal, which had managed a 1-1 draw against Sporting Clube de Goa in the first round, paid the price of a lax vigil initially. ONGC FC impressed with speedy attacks through the flanks, one of which fetched the ninth-minute lead.
Yusa slotted home making the most of a sharp back-centre from right-half Sorabuddin Mollick. Gathering its wits after conceding the goal East Bengal reorganised its midfield and attack and found the equaliser off a set-piece situation in the injury-time. Chidi scored levelled from a spectacular free-kick, curling the ball past the ONGC wall.
East Bengal emerged a transformed unit after the break and put the pressure on ONGC with regular incursions. But ONGC put a strict vigil at the back and managed to hold off the East Bengal attacks till Yusa’s ejection in the 78th minute. Manandeep Singh, who came in for Subodh Kumar in the 73rd minute, played the role of a super-sub to give East Bengal the decisive lead in the 82ndminute.
East Bengal and Sporting Clube de Goa remained tied on top of the group table with four points each from two matches while ONGC was point behind in the second spot.