ISL: East Bengal’s first win a New Year’s gift for fans, takes load off Robbie Fowler

East Bengal recorded their maiden win in the ISL with a 3-1 victory over Odisha FC while ATK Mohun Bagan went top of the table with another convincing win.

By Rahul Venkat

East Bengal finally gave their fans a New Year’s gift with their first win of the Indian Super League (ISL) season with a 3-1 victory over Odisha FC on Sunday. 

First-half strikes from star forwards Anthony Pilkington and Jacques Maghoma followed by another late goal by Bright Enobakhare, who joined the club only two days back, capped a perfect night for East Bengal.

The win would have taken a load off their high-profile manager Robbie Fowler. The Liverpool legend was visibly pleased with the result. 

"It is unbelievable to get a win. It was a good, professional performance,” Robbie Fowler said after the game.

“Pilkington was fantastic, and Jacques Maghoma probably had his best game so far. Bright was a fine addition to the team as he made the game look so simple. It is a great win and a great start to the new year and hopefully, it will continue.”

A late goal for Odisha FC, courtesy Diego Mauricio, may have dampened the spirits a bit but the sweet taste of victory was good enough.

“Ideally, all of us want to keep a clean sheet but the most important part of the game is the result. Our lads were brilliant and deserved to win. Clean sheets are great, but three points are more important,” Fowler added.

The victory kept East Bengal in 10th place in the ISL 2020-21 table with six points from eight games. 

Odisha FC are still winless in the current season and sit bottom of the table with just two points from eight games. It is their worst start to an ISL season thus far.

Meanwhile, East Bengal’s arch-rivals ATK Mohun Bagan ensured that the other half of Kolkata also celebrated as they beat NorthEast United FC 2-0 in the second match on Sunday.

Roy Krishna scored his fifth goal of ISL 2020-21 to take ATK Mohun Bagan to the top. Photo: ISL Media.

A fifth goal of the season from Fiji striker Roy Krishna and an own goal from Suhair VP was enough to ensure that ATK Mohun Bagan stretched their unbeaten streak to five games in ISL 2020-21.

“We played a good match against NorthEast United FC. In the first half, the match was more balanced but in the second half we were superior,” said ATK Mohun Bagan head coach Antonio Lopez Habas.

The comfortable victory took the Mariners to the top of the table with 20 points from nine games. However, second-placed Mumbai City FC have a game in hand to catch up with Bagan.

Lead Photo: ISL Media