Head coach Marco Rivera made an instant impact as SC East Bengal posted their first victory of the Indian Super League (ISL) season as they edged out FC Goa 2-1 in his first match in-charge at the Athletic stadium in Bambolim, Goa on Wednesday.
Naorem Mahesh Singh’s (9’, 42’) goals sandwiched Alberto Noguera’s (37’) strike for FC Goa, as the Red and Gold brigade defended resolutely in the second half to secure the all three points.
The win also lifted SC East Bengal off the foot of the table as they moved ahead of NorthEast United FC on goal difference.
Like most matches, FC Goa started the match bossing possession but SC East Bengal who were stationed to pounce on any lapses by FC Goa made the most of one in the 9th minute when Naorem Singh pinched the ball from Edu Bedia before running at goal and finishing past the goalkeeper to put SC East Bengal in front.
The Gaurs upped the ante after falling behind and almost equalised in the 24th minute when Alexander Jesuraj fired over after being played in on goal after a intricate passing move.
Three minutes later, Airam Cabrera missed another chance from a corner.
However, FC Goa made the pressure pay in the 37th minute when Bedia played in Noguera with an inch-perfect through ball as the former finished past the goalkeeper to make it 1-1.
However, SC East Bengal hit back instantly to regain their lead five minutes later when a poor pass across the face of the goal from FC Goa was intercepted by Naorem Singh inside the box. His shot then bounce in off the crossbar. It was a good call from the linesman to award it as the ball bounced back out after crossing the line.
SC East Bengal had their noses in front at the break despite seeing much less of the ball than their opponents.
Rivera threw in Raju Gaikwad for the second half in place of Mohammad Rafique but SC East Bengal had to weather an early storm from FC Goa in the second half.
The Gaurs once again dominated possession, pushing the Red and Gold brigade deep in their own half but couldn't create too many chances.
Derrick Perreira brought on Redeem Tlang, Devendra Murgaonkar and Saviour Gama at different points in the second half as FC Goa chased an equaliser.
However, SC East Began, desperate for their first win of the season, gave it their all and saw the game through after seven testing stoppage time minutes.
The defeat kept FC Goa in ninth place. They now play eight-placed Bengaluru FC in their next match on Sunday.
As for SC East Bengal, their next assignment sees them take on Hyderabad FC on Monday.