- Friday, 11 May 2012
- Written by Modou Lamin Beyai
Mashari Al Azmi fired home a dramatic late winner as Abdou “Tea Boy” Jammeh’s Kuwaiti side Kazma edged 10-man East Bengal 2-1 in an AFC Cup Group B clash on Wednesday.
Ismail Al Ajmi had given the visitors an early lead at the Yuba Bharati Krirangan Stadium but Brazilian striker Edmilson struck in the 19th minute to draw East Bengal level. The home side suffered a blow when Saikat Saha Roy was sent off in the 35th minute but Kazma failed to make the extra man count until Al Azmi struck in stoppage time to secure the three points.
The victory boosted Kazma’s hopes of qualifying for the round of 16 ahead of the group’s final match between Arbil of Iraq and Al Orouba of Yemen later on Wednesday.
“We were lucky to win but it was absolutely cruel to play in the heat and humidity of Kolkata,” said Kazma coach Milan Máčala. Kazma had trounced the Indian side 3-0 when the two teams met in Kuwait in March. And they enjoyed an excellent start in Kolkota as Al Ajmi fired a powerful low shot from the edge of the East Bengal box past goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh after only seven minutes.
But East Bengal were back on level terms 12 minutes later. Robert Lalthalma surged down the right and fired in a shot which was well stopped by Kazma goalkeeper Shehab Kankone. However, Edmilson got to the loose ball and tucked away his second goal of the competition.
East Bengal were looking to pick up their first points in Group B after losing all five of their previous games. But they suffered a huge setback in the 35th minute when Saikat Saha Roy received his marching orders after he was shown his second yellow card for a lunging challenge on Al Ajmi. Despite needing a win to boost their chances of reaching the knockout stage, Jammeh’s Kazma struggled to make the most of the added man.
Al Ajmi nearly restored their lead in the 79th minute when his shot from just outside the box came back off the left upright. But the Kuwaiti side would secure a dramatic victory in stoppage time when Al Azmi’s fired a long-range effort past Gupreet Singh into the top left corner of the East Bengal net.
“We fought well with 10 men as the boys played their heart out,” said East Bengal coach Trevor Morgan. “Their performance despite their intensive travelling was indeed commendable.”
Abdou Jammeh and his Kazma will face fellow Kuwaitis Al Qadsia in the next round of the AFC cup.