Ralte strike powers EB

Ralte strike powers EB

Lalrindika Ralte on Wednesday scored to hand East Bengal a solitary-goal win over Selangor FA in their AFC Cup Group H opener -- the club’s first in 21 mathches in the Asian competition.

Attacking midfielder Ralte struck in the 44th minute, which eventually decided the fate of the match at the Yuba Bharati Krirangan.

The win meant East Bengal got off to a positive start, unlike Churchill Brothers, who had been crushed 0-3 by Hong Kong’s champion side, Kitchee Sports Club in an away match on Tuesday.

Both teams had their moments but could not really capitalise on the limited chances that came their way. And once the hosts broke the deadlock just before the break, the East Bengal defence, led by the experienced Uga Okpara, stood firm, not allowing the visitors to score the equaliser.

Okpara, who had Raju Gaikwad for company in central defence, were well-supported by Harmanjyot Singh Khabra and Saumik Dey on the flanks.The Federation Cup champions met the Malaysian club after a gap of 41 years.

‘Stay fresh’

National football coach Wim Koevermans on Wednesday said players from Churchill and East Bengal, who are currently busy with club commitments, will need to “recover fast and stay fresh” for the upcoming AFC Challenge Cup 2014 (Qualifiers) in Yangon.

“The boys from Churchill Brothers and East Bengal couldn’t arrive together with the group, courtesy the AFC Cup schedule. They need to recover fast and stay fresh,” Koevermans said.

“The idea stays to get enough rest to overcome and adjust after the hectic travel schedules. Travelling is tiring and takes its toll, especially if you travel to a different time zone. Hence, acclimatisation is important. The boys have adjusted superbly so far and we even had a light practice session on the first afternoon.”

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