SC East Bengal, season review: Forgettable campaign with few silver linings

It was a rough season for SC East Bengal, having finished at the rock bottom with just one win in their quota of 20 matches. Desperate recruitments in the 11th hour, lack of proper pre-season, have all contributed to a plagued season from the beginning, eventually reflecting in the final report card.

When nothing was working in their way, the management had to replace top personnel to initiate fresh hope among the faithful. However, nothing productive transpired in the context of the league, apart from the marginal improvement in their gameplay towards the end of the season, when their fate was already sealed for the worse.

Record

Played: 20, Won: 1, Drawn: 8, Lost: 11

Positives

Going by the record, it is a tedious task to pick out the positives, however, scanning through the lens, the latter stages of the season has been particularly encouraging for the Red and Gold Brigade. Not only did they script their only win of the season, but also held teams like Mumbai City FC and Chennaiyin FC to draws.

The resurgence of youngsters like Naorem Mahesh Singh, Sourav Das and Lalrinliana Hnamte have been a boost to the unit. Mario Rivera, who took charge of affairs midway through the season, was responsible for the spirited displays by the side towards the end.

Negatives

There’s a lot on the list. For starters, the lack of finesse in the build-up, along with a midfield thronged by Indian rookies. The teams mostly dominated SC East Bengal and made use of their loopholes, bagging easy points to climb the ladder.

The attacking zone misfired big time, with Daniel Chima Chukwu departing midway, while the replacements were not up to the mark as the team managed to net just 18 times (second lowest by a team this season).

The club’s over-dependence on set-pieces have cost them dearly. However, their defence was relatively better, having let in 36 goals, which was better than NorthEast United FC and Odisha FC (both shipping in 43 goals each).

Best Player

Antonio Perosevic

Despite missing out six matches and disciplinary charges going against his way, the Croatian was undoubtedly the best player for SC East Bengal in the season. Perosevic netted four goals for the Kolkata-based club, the highest for the contingent, along with an assist.

At times, he’s been able to torment the opponents’ defence, a rare sight given the forgettable campaign of the club. Swift movements, sublime skills, efficient passes - Perosevic had all in him, however, there weren’t enough players to support him. At the end of the day, the foreigner would be pleased with his first outing in the Hero ISL 2021-22.

Best young player

Lalrinliana Hnamte

The youngster migrated to SC East Bengal ahead of the season from Hyderabad FC's reserves and was a regular for them in the Hero ISL 2021-22. Even though the results were not inspiring, Hnamte has shown occasional sparks in his game, having also scored once in 17 matches.

Moreover, he was clinical in the playmaking zone, with a passing accuracy of 70% to boast. The footballer might turn out to be a big thing in Indian football if groomed properly.

What they need next season

A complete overhaul. The management has to accept the bitter fact that the quality of intake in the squad has not been on par with the other competitors. Except for a handful of players like Anotnio Perosevic and Hira Mondal, the club needs to be built from scratch if they expect any turnaround in the upcoming season.

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