Sreenidi Deccan edged by East Bengal despite second half fightback

14th January, Bhubaneswar: Sreenidi Deccan Football Club suffered a second successive 1-2 defeat in the Kalinga Super Cup football tournament here at the Kalinga stadium, this time to East Bengal FC who rode on first half goals from Hijazi Maher and Javier Siverio to take all three points. The Deccan Warriors pulled one back through a late penalty kick from William Alves but it was too little too late as they were eliminated from the Kalinga Super Cup with a game to spare.

Head Coach Carlos Vaz Pinto made as many as six changes to the side that started the previous game against Mohun Bagan, bringing back top goalscorer David Castaneda, captain Mayakkannan and defender Pawan Kumar into the team and also including young goalkeeper Aryan Lamba. Winger Kean Lewis made his debut for Sreenidi Deccan having had to wait patiently after joining in the summer.

It was East Bengal who had controlled the first half as they created more chances, taking the first of those through defender Maher. A free-kick from the right in the 12th minute was taken short and swung in by Nishu Kumar and the tall Jordanian rose highest to send the ball looping over Aryan in the Sreenidi Deccan goal. The Red and Gold Brigade doubled their lead in the 31st minute through a long range strike from forward Siverio which took a wicked deflection off Pawan and caught Aryan off guard. Sreenidi Deccan thought they had pulled one back in the 42nd minute as Castaneda headed in Kean’s cross but the assistant referee flagged it offside.

The second half saw Sreenidi Deccan dominate possession in search of a comeback but they failed to test Prabhsukhan Gill in the East Bengal goal. Substitutes William and Lalbiakliana tried their best and the latter won a penalty in the last minute of regulation time which the former converted to make it 2-1 and it stayed that way.

Sreenidi Deccan will face Hyderabad FC in their final Group A clash of the Kalinga Super Cup on January 19 in what is the first official competitive meeting between the two city rivals.