| Kingfisher East Bengal’s Robin Singh (right) celebrates his goal with Penn Orji, at the Salt Lake Stadium,
on Saturday. A Telegraph picture |
Calcutta: Results seem to be getting better and better for East Bengal as they pummelled ONGC 5-0 in an I-League Round VII clash at the Salt Lake Stadium, here, on Saturday.
The contest turned into a cakewalk for the red-and-gold brigade as ONGC gradually ran out of gas and could offer no resistance whatsoever, especially after being reduced to 10 men midway through the second session.
For East Bengal, though, the element of positivity at present is not just about being atop the I-League table (with 17 points from seven matches), but the plus point of five different players registering their names on the scoresheet is an aspect that would certainly keep them in good stead with some intriguing battles coming up.
Importantly, it’s the bite and penetration in East Bengal’s moves that provide them with a distinctive feature over other sides.
If a team of the stature of Churchill Brothers can be thrashed in their own den, ONGC then would be no better than soft targets at East Bengal’s own domain.
Barring the initial lapses in front of the goal, East Bengal looked to be well in control of proceedings throughout.
Edeh Chidi drew first blood in the 26th minute, volleying home — with a half-turn — an Uga Okpara long ball that was headed down by Ishfaq Ahmed from the right flank.
It was East Bengal’s 500th goal in the National League. The Chidi-Ishfaq duo almost doubled East Bengal’s lead towards the end of the first half.
But on this occasion, the Nigerian delayed and lost possession of the ball.
The second goal eventually arrived six minutes after the breather.
It was Okpara again, as he sent another superb long ball towards Chidi, who headed it towards an advancing Penn Orji. And Penn made no mistake to slot home a right-footer.
Soon after, ONGC’s Sandeep Sangha was first yellow-carded before being given marching orders straightaway for heckling referee Naveen J. Sundi and using abusive language. Riding on this numerical advantage, East Bengal turned this game into a virtual no-contest.
Manandeep Singh came up with the third in the 66th minute, evading Sachin Gawas with a swivel and finishing with a right-footer from the edge of the box, off Penn’s aerial pass.
Around 11 minutes later, it was substitute Lalrindika Ralte’s time to join the party. Off Manandeep’s centre, Ralte negated a rival defender before doing the needful.
To speak of the fifth and final goal, Robin Singh — replacing Chidi — ought to be grateful to Hassan Adeola, who, with his terrible receiving, rather invited the striker to score. And Robin readily obliged.