Real Kashmir Football Club went down 0-1 to East Bengal in an ill-tempered I-League clash on Monday where the referees gave Red Cards to two of the home team players. The lone goal was scored by Spaniard Victor Perez from a penalty in the fifth minute of added time to secure vital three points for the Kolkata giants. Also Read - Coronavirus: Remainder of I-League Season to be Played Behind Closed Doors

A crowd of nearly 10,000 gathered at the TRC ground protested against the umpiring and even the RKFC team management decided to file a complaint against the referees with the All India Football Federation. Also Read - I-League: Neroca FC Win Seven-Goal Thriller to Break Punjab Jinx

The match saw three red and several yellow cards to be shown by the referee. RKFC’s Danish Farooq, the local hero, and Kallum Higginbotham were sent off while EB’s Edmund Lalrindika was given marching orders. Also Read - Mohun Bagan Clinch I-League Title With Four Rounds to go

With the win, EB rose to the second spot in the standings with 23 points from 16 points while fourth-placed Kashmir have 22 points from 15 games. With RKFC’s defeat, a draw against Aizawl on Tuesday will enable leaders Mohun Bagan to win the I-League this season.

The opening exchanges were evenly distributed at the TRC Ground. The fight was cagey with both teams waiting or the other to commit a mistake. But the equation changed when local hero Farooq was red-carded in the 38th minute. He got his second booking for simulation and promptly received his marching orders. The first half ended goalless. And not much changed after the break.

East Bengal, with their numerical advantage, tried to up the ante in the second half. They attacked in numbers and moved the ball from one flank to the other. But lack of any creative spark or penetration put paid to all their efforts. Their Spanish midfielder Juan Mera curled in his free-kick to the top corner in the 53rd minute. But RKFC goalkeeper Phurba Lachenpa pulled off a diving save.

RKFC were forced to dig deep and defend for most of the second session. In the 63rd minute, Victor Perez’s through ball was smothered by an onrushing Lachenpa. East Bengal’s constant pressure finally bore fruit as Juan Mera was brought down inside the box and the fag end of regulation time.

Perez calmly slotted home the resultant spot-kick to secure the three points. A scuffle broke out between the two sets of players after Perez converted the penalty leading to referee producing red cards to RKFC’s Kallum Higginbotham and EB’s Edmund Lalrindika.

Expressing his disappointment, Real Kashmir FC co-owner Sandeep Chattoo, said: “It is one of most unfortunate loss for RKFC, where umpires failed us. The bias of the referee was clearly visible. We will be appealing against decisions of the referee to the AIFF. Match video is there for anyone to see how partial the referee was towards RKFC.