East Bengal double whammy sparks unrest at club tent
Kolkata: East Bengal had to bear the wrath of fans who laid siege to their home turf with players and officials locked inside for about 30 minutes following their humiliating 1-4 loss to minnows Aryan Club in the local football league on Tuesday.
Angry with their second successive loss, three days after they were blanked 0-2 by bitter-foes Mohun Bagan, the fans turned violent near the exit gate, forcing the players to remain stranded in the ground before police could pacify the situation.
The police sneaked through the back door to rescue the team, especially East Bengal coach Trevor Morgan, who was the prime target of the supporters.
The club tent had to down the shutters once the players and coach were brought safely inside as it took about two hours for them to leave the venue safely after additional police force was brought in to control the mob.
It was a script that turned terribly wrong as the leaders, who needed a win to virtually seal the Calcutta Football League (Premier Division) title, squandered a 1-0 lead at half-time for yet another embarrassing defeat.
Riding on a hattrick by their foreign striker Efemena Egware Charles, Aryan struck four goals in 24 minutes in the second-half to stun the 2,000-odd spectators.
After the loss to Bagan which Morgan had described as the "worst" point of his career here, he opted for a second string playing eleven against Aryan and brought in star players Mehtab Hussain, Uga Okpara and Orji Penn only in the second-half.
As their main goalkeeper Shilton Paul was rested after Saturday`s loss in the derby and Gurpreet Singh not available, East Bengal had to field their third choice custodian Debjit Majumdar under the bar.
While Charles scored thrice (60th, 68th and 84th minute), Gopal Debnath (66th) completed the tally for Aryan.
East Bengal had enjoyed a 1-0 lead at the breather with the solitary goal coming from Tolgay Ozbey (43rd).
The shocker was hard to digest for the fans who rushed to the main gate and abused East Bengal players and officials.
East Bengal officials led by ambassador Alvito D`Cunha tried to convince the fans with folded hands but the angry crowd of about 1,000 did not budge.
Later, additional police force and Mounted Police was pressed into action to control the crowd.
Notwithstanding the loss, East Bengal (18 points from 8 matches) still have two more outings to retain the title.
Aryan have nine points.