I-League: Real Kashmir lose to East Bengal in ill-tempered clash
Real Kashmir Football Club went down 0-1 to East Bengal in an ill-tempered I-League clash here on Monday with the referee giving marching orders to two home team players.
The lone goal was scored by Spaniard Victor Perez from a penalty in the fifth minute of added time to secure three vital points for the Kolkata giants. A crowd of nearly 10,000 at the TRC ground protested against the refereeing and the RKFC team management even decided to file a complaint against the officials with the All India Football Federation.
The match saw three red cards and several yellow cards being shown by the referee. RKFC's Danish Farooq, the local hero, and Kallum Higginbotham were sent off while EB's Edmund Lalrindika was given marching orders.
Expressing his disappointment, Real Kashmir FC co-owner Sandeep Chattoo said: "It is one of most unfortunate losses for RKFC, where the referee failed us. The bias of the referee was clearly visible. We will appeal against the decisions of the referee to the AIFF. The video of the match is there for anyone to see how partial the referee was towards RKFC," he added.
With this win, East Bengal rose to the second spot in the standings with 23 points from 16 points while fourth-placed Kashmir have 22 points from 15 games. With RKFC's defeat, a draw against Aizawl on Tuesday will enable leaders Mohun Bagan to win the I-League this season.
The opening exchanges were evenly distributed at the TRC Ground. The fight was cagey with both teams waiting for the other to commit a mistake. But the equation changed when local hero Farooq was red carded in the 38th minute. He got his second booking for simulation and promptly received marching orders.
The first half ended goalless and not much changed after the break. East Bengal, with their numerical advantage, tried to up the ante as they attacked in numbers and moved the ball from one flank to the other. But lack of creative spark or penetration put paid to all their efforts.
RKFC were forced to dig deep and defend for most of the second session. East Bengal's constant pressure finally bore fruit as Juan Mera was brought down inside the box at the fag end of regulation time.
Perez calmly slotted home the resultant spot kick to secure three points for the visitors. A scuffle broke out between the two sets of players after Perez converted the penalty, leading to the referee producing red cards to RKFC's Kallum Higginbotham and EB's Edmund Lalrindika. IANS