East Bengal

Md Rafique's stunner helped East Bengal to reach the top of the I-League table

[caption id="attachment_60685" align="aligncenter" width="580"]Mohammad Rafique's brilliant goal helped East Bengal to go on top of the I-League. Image Source: XtraTime Mohammad Rafique's brilliant goal helped East Bengal to go on top of the I-League. Image Source: XtraTime[/caption]

Kolkata: A stunning side volley from veteran Mohammad Rafique hands city giant East Bengal full points against Kerala's Gokulam FC at the Salt Lake Stadium today. This was the Red & Gold Brigade's fourth consecutive victory in the I-League 2017-18 and with this win they reached the top of the league table surpassing Minerva Punjab FC.

In the 14th minute of the game Rafique got the first chance to break the dead lock but Gokulam goalkeeper saved his shot by with sheer brilliance. Just after that the visitors got a free-kick in the 17th minute which was 25 yards out of the goal. Francis Ambane took a brilliant fee-kick but unfortunately his shot hit the crossbar. The Red & Gold goal-keeper Luis Barreto was just nothing to do besides watching the ball sail past him at that point of time.

Rafique broke the deadlock in the 44th minute of the game for the home side. A Gokulam defender tried to clear a corner of Mahmoud Al Amna, but Rafique took a side volley after receiving the return ball and his bullet shot went straight in to the goal.

In the second-half, Mirza kicked star East Bengal forward Yusa on his knee in a dangerous and ugly challenge as referee sent off the left- back with a red card as the momentum shifted in favour of the red-and-gold brigade.

Such was Mirza’s wild swing on Yusa that the star Japanese had to be stretchered off the field and replaced by Surabuddin Mollick in the 61st minute.

East Bengal looked a transformed unit after the break and came close to double the lead through Charles d'Souza in the 56th minute but the Brazilian forward shot straight to Kerala goalkeeper Bilal Khan.

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