East Bengal confirms their berth in Durand Cup quarter-finals

Kolkata, (UNI) East Bengal FC confirmed their berth in the Durand Cup 2023 quarter-finals with a hard-fought win against Punjab FC at the Kishore Bharati Krirangan here on Wednesday.

Javier Siverio’s first-half goal made the difference as East Bengal FC finished the group stage unbeaten with two wins and a draw. The result also meant it was the end of the road for Punjab FC, who finished bottom of the group.

East Bengal FC did not enjoy the best of starts, but took control of the game as the first half progressed. It was Punjab FC who created the first opening of the game after some sloppy passing from the hosts. Juan Mera drove forward and fired a quick shot, but Prabhsukhan Gill dived low to parry away the effort.

Carles Cuadrat’s side would soon go on to score the equaliser after winning a corner. A short pass was played towards Borja Herrera, who whipped a teasing cross in a dangerous area inside the box. Siverio rose highest and buried his header into the far corner to put East Bengal FC ahead.

East Bengal FC continued attacking after the opener and came close to scoring another one just before the end of the first half. Naorem Mahesh delivered an inch-perfect cross towards Siverio, who saw his header come off the post.

Punjab FC displayed more intent in the second half, bringing on the likes of Manglenthang Kipgen Samuel Kynshi. Prasanth K. However, Staikos Vergetis’ side lacked the cutting edge in the final third as East Bengal FC defended alertly. They found it tough to break down the East Bengal FC defence, who kept their shape and tried to hit back with counter-attacks.

East Bengal FC introduced Cleiton Silva after the hour mark and the Brazilian posed a threat to the opposition defence on a couple of occasions. He first saw his free-kick narrowly sail over the bar, before firing a shot from close range that was blocked.

Despite their inability to add to their tally, East Bengal FC put no foot wrong in defence and held on to the win, continuing their unbeaten run in the tournament.

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