| Eastern Railway goalie Sukdeb Ghosh tries to foil East Bengal’s Baljit Sahni’s attempt at the goal, at the Salt Lake Stadium, on Friday. A Telegraph picture |
Calcutta: For the past two seasons, striker Tolgay Ozebe was the key to Kingfisher East Bengal’s success. There were questions raised whether the present crop of strikers, especially their new signing Edeh Chidi, could fill in his shoes.
Much to the delight of the 4,000-odd spectators at the Salt Lake Stadium on Friday, those doubts were put to rest, at least for the time being. Both their strikers — Baljit Sahni and Chidi — struck as East Bengal began their campaign in the Calcutta Football League Premier Division in superb fashion, thrashing Eastern Railway 5-0.
While Sahni scored a hat-trick, Chidi struck one on his debut. The other goal was scored by midfielder Cavin Lobo. The red–and-gold brigade started the match on a positive note, creating numerous chances in the first half. While Baljit impressed with his accuracy in front of the goal, Lobo put in a brilliant display with his rippling runs and ball distribution.
Such was Lobo’s performance that it elicited praise from coach Trevor James Morgan. “He was outstanding… He troubled the opponent defenders with his runs on and off the ball. I hope that he continues performing like this for the rest of the season.”
East Bengal took the lead as early as in the eighth minute. The experienced Ishfaq Ahmed snatched a ball in the midfield and delivered a defence splitting pass for Baljit. The striker moved away from his marker before lobbing the ball past goalkeeper Sukdeb Ghosh to score his first goal.
Chidi could have got his name on the scoresheet six minutes later had he been on target with a free-header.
In the 25th minute, East Bengal doubled the lead. Lobo ran amok in the midfield before passing the ball to Chidi on the right. Chidi delivered a cross to Lobo, who brilliantly headed it past a diving Sukdeb. Baljit scored his second eight minutes later. After taking control of a loose ball on the edge of the opponent box, he struck in brilliant fashion.
Chidi finally got his name on the scoresheet in the 37th minute. Lobo made a rippling run on the left and passed the ball for Baljit. But Sukdeb intervened and thwarted the ball away. However, Chidi was at the right place at the right time to push the ball home. Baljit completed his first hat-trick for the red-and-gold brigade in the 72nd minute when he scored from a Harmanjyot Singh Khabra pass.
In another match, Bhowanipore drew 0-0 with West Bengal Police at the Mohun Bagan ground.
East Bengal: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Saikat Saha Roy (Abhishek Das 69'), Safar Sardar, Arnab Mondal, Saumik Dey, Ishfaq Ahmed, Cavin Lobo, Harmanjyot Singh Khabra, Reisangmi Vashum (Alvito D'Cunha 68'), Edeh Chidi, Baljit Sahni (Branco Cardozo 78')
Eastern Railway: Sukdeb Ghosh, Avik Guha, Santanu Bit, Jaccobs Samsung (Ramizul Islam 61'), Babun Kar, Anthony Soren, Goutam Paul, Bapan Bera, Niladri Sekhar Chakraborty (Sumit Karmakar 43'), Dipankar Ghosh, Bapi Halder
Referee: Pranjal Banerjee