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East Bengal draw 2-2 against Aizawl in I-League opener

Kolkata: Aizawl held East Bengal to a 2-2 draw in their I-League season opener on Tuesday in Kolkata. Former Mohun Bagan players Katsumi Yusa and Eduardo Ferreira scored for the Red and Golds while William Lalnunfela scored a brace to guarantee the defending champions a point. East Bengal coach Khalid Jamil fielded the team in a 4-2-3-1 formation with three debutantes in the starting XI. Defenders Mehtab Singh, Deepak K. and goalkeeper Mirshad K. made their I-League debuts for the Red and Golds.

Mohammed Rafique and Armand Bazzou were deployed as the central midfielders with Mahmoud Al Amna, Katsumi Yusa and Brandon Vanlalremdika upfront. Willis Plaza was designated the role of the lone striker while Salam Ranjan Singh partnered Eduardo Ferreira at the heart of the defence.
The defending champions took the field in a 4-4-2 shape with Japanese Striker Yugo Kobayashi partnering William Lalnunfela upfront. Leonce Dodoz operated on the flanks while skipper Alfred Jaryan played at the heart of midfield.
Aizawl FC enjoyed the lion's share of possession throughout the first half as the home side were restricted to counter attacks. The first major chance came in the 7th minute as Willis Plaza met Mehtab Singh's cross inside the 6-yard box. From a handshaking distance, the Trinidad and Tobago striker failed to find the back of the net. Within seven minutes Plaza got yet another chance but his shot was comfortably saved by Aizawl custodian Avilash Paul.
Youngster Mehtab Singh was the weak link in East Bengal's defence as he struggled against Aizawl's Dodoz. The Ivory Coast winger exploited East Bengal's right side and was a threat.
Plaza completed a hat-trick of misses in the 35th minute when his shot hit the woodwork. The strike'sr attempted shot from the edge of the box beat a diving Avilash but unfortunately did not go in. Khalid Jamil made his first substitution in the 37th minute as Lalramchullova replaced Mehtab Singh at the right back position.
Another former Mohun Bagan player Katsumi Yusa doubled the lead in the 72nd minute. Avilash was left wrong-footed from the initial shot taken by Rafique which took a wicket deflection off Katsumi and beat the hapless goalkeeper.
The away side found the equaliser in the 96th minute to break East Bengal's hearts. William Lanunfela scored his second goal of the night from a Lalthathanga Khawlhring corner with was was the last move of the match.

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