| Mohun Baganís Jose Ramirez Barreto jumps for a header in the Dempo penalty area during their National League match at Salt Lake Stadium on Tuesday. Picture by Amit Datta
Calcutta: Mohun Bagan were at their attacking best scripting their biggest win this season in a 5-1 demolition of Dempo Sports Club in the National Football League match at Salt Lake Stadium on Tuesday.
Dempo, who started the match as second-placed behind East Bengal in the League table, were clueless to the home teamís relentless attacks and once Lolendra Singh opened the floodgates just before the break with a stunner, it was all Mohun Bagan. Jose Ramirez Barreto scored a brace before George Ekeh joined the party to bring Dempo pride down to earth.
The Goans managed a reducer through their new Brazilian recruit Andreev Sergey. It however, proved to an aberration with defender Stanley Colaco letting in an own goal.
Bagan looked charged up right from the word go and the so-called impregnability of Dempoís rearguard quickly evaporated. The return of Samir Naik after doing national duty in the Dhaka SAFF Cup also did little in helping the visitorsí cause.
It was attacking football at its best in the Indian perspective. Everybody from Barreto to Ekeh to Sk. Sanjib to captain Dulal Biswas to even error-prone Yakubu, played their part to perfection. However amidst the constellation, it was left half Rennedy Singh who shone the brightest. He was involved in Mohun Baganís first four goals, hit the crosspiece once, created a number of chances for his forwards, switched ends in a breathtaking speed ó thus playing pivotal to Bagan attacks.
Though Barreto walked away with the Man of the Match award, Rennedy was undoubtedly the peopleís choice.
With Dempo leaving Barreto unmarked and not too keen on defensive play, the match looked quite open.
The green and maroon brigade had the cutting edge and could have been 3-0 up with the first ten minutes. Rennedy and Ekeh took feeble shots at goals while Basudeb Mondalís flying header off a Sanjibís low centre from the left went just outside the near post.
Chances also fell Mario Soares and Andreevís ways, but poor finishing denied Dempo early strikes.
The initial surge of Mohun Bagan attacks finally fructified on the stroke of halftime. And what a goal it was!
Fed on a Yakubu pass from the centre circle, Rennedy delivered it to Lolendra on the left. In a jiffy came a powerful strike from the left back and the ball crashed into the far-corner of the net with goalkeeper Francis Fernandes hardly getting the chance to move.
Then in a tumultuous 15-minute span in the second-half, Mohun Bagan put to rest Dempoís chances of a comeback.
In the 47th minute, Ekeh broke free on the left, outrunning his challenger Naik and squared the ball back to a lurking Barreto. The Brazilian, who scored his hundredth goal against Indian Bank in the previous match, slotted home coming in between Melwin Rodrigues and Stanley Colaco.
Seven minutes later, Rennedy curled in a free-kick from the edge of the box which forced a timely save from Francis before the ball touched the crosspiece and went out for a corner. The resultant flag-kick, again by Rennedy, culminated in Baganís third goal. Barreto just redirected the ball with a header towards the goal.
After three minutes, Rennedy set up a perfect square pass for Sanjib. But the latterís goalward attempt was blocked by Melwin and Ekeh outjumped Luciano to head home the rebound.
Dempo finally found the target in the 81st minute when Andreev pushed in a Naikís cross from the right. However, within a couple of minutes Stanley tucked in while clearing an attempt from substitute Sunil Chhetri.
MOHUN BAGAN: Bivas Ghosh; Dulal Biswas, Yakubu, Satish Bharti, Lolendra Singh; Sk. Sanjib (Sunil Chhetri, 70), Basudeb Mondal (Kajol Bhattacharya, 84), Palash Karmakar, Rennedy Singh; George Ekeh, Jose Ramirez Barreto (Amar Ganguly, 86).
DEMPO SC: Francis Fernandes; Melwin Rodrigues, Stanley Colaco, Jose G. Luciano, Sameer Naik; Lazarus Fernandes, Mario Soares (Wilton Gomes, 72), Jose Colaco, Clifford Miranda (Raman Vijayan, 77), Bijen Singh; Andreev Sergey.
Referee: J. Ravishankar (Delhi).