Katsumi, Al Amna lead East Bengal’s charge against Mumbai City

East Bengal confirmed their qualification into the quarter-final round of the Hero Super Cup on Thursday, as they overcame Mumbai City FC 2-1 at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar. Achille Emana opened the scoring for Mumbai, but the Kolkata giants turned things around with dual strikes from Katsumi Yusa and Mahmoud Al Amna.

Mumbai started the game on a reckless note as both Zakeer Mundampara and Sehnaj Singh received yellow cards for clumsy challenges within the first 10 minutes. But the Islanders slowly found their composure back and managed to break the deadlock in the 22nd minute through Emana. The Cameroonian curled in a brilliant free-kick from distance which entered the net after hitting the inside of the post, giving opponent custodian Ubaid CK no chance.

But East Bengal’s flow was not to be thwarted as they levelled proceedings less than five minutes later through Katsumi. Laldanmawia Ralte found himself free in space down the right flank and delivered an inch-perfect cross for the Japanese to comfortably head home. The rest of the half was played out in the midfield, with neither side able to create any clear-cut chances before heading into the break tied at 1-1.

In the second half, the first real opportunity came East Bengal’s way in the 53rd minute. Katsumi had a chance to score his second, but his shot from inside the box was directed straight at Mumbai custodian Amrinder Singh. But in the 73rd minute, they deservedly took the lead when Al Amna pounced on a loose ball inside the penalty box. The dangerous Ralte burst down the right flank and delivered a stinging shot which was well saved by Amrinder, but the 24-year old had no chance to keep Al Amna’s rebound effort out.

Ralte then had a chance to seal the tie minutes later, when he was put through on goal, but a stunning last-gasp challenge from Pranjal Bhumij ensured that Mumbai still had a chance to make a comeback. Thereafter, East Bengal held on to their steely resolve, refusing to give Mumbai a sniff back into the game. Eventually after 90 minutes of intense play, they secured the win, while the Islanders bowed out of the competition.

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