| Baljit Sahni and Harmanjyot Singh Khabra, at the Salt Lake Stadium. A Telegraph picture |
Calcutta: After Techno Aryan, it was the turn of Mohammedan Sporting to face the red-and-gold rage.
Handing Aryan a seven-goal hammering last Tuesday, East Bengal hit Sporting for half-a-dozen to win 6-1 on Saturday’s CFL Premier Division Super Nine tie, at the Salt Lake Stadium.
Striker Baljit Sahni recorded a hat-trick and substitute Robin Singh too had a field day with two strikes to lead the rout. However, to be precise, it was a collective effort from East Bengal that simply drowned their opponents by the end of the first half itself.
A lead of 2-0 in a space of just 12 minutes seemed enough to shut Sporting out of the game. Lalrindika Ralte, who’s gradually turning out to be a vital cog of the East Bengal midfield, crossed one from the right and Baljit found the target with a fine header in the 10th minute.
Soon after, Baljit headed down Penn Orji’s centre to Chidi, who did the needful. Sporting just couldn’t recover after this.
A little better effort was expected from Mohammedan Sporting. In the previous matches, they had shown enough spunk even when results were not in their favour.
The sole occasion that belonged to them in this match was Shin Hyojun’s 61st minute conversion, off Jerry Zirsanga’s cross.
All said and done, there’s not much that teams with porous defence can do, especially when up against a unit on a rampage.
The game was as good as over when Baljit scored his second goal five minutes before the half-hour mark. Although Sporting goalkeeper Somnath Khara managed to block Chidi’s grounder, off Penn’s aerial centre, Baljit latched on to the rebound and slotted it home.
He brought up his third hat-trick of the season six minutes into the second session, converting off Ralte’s corner, which was headed towards Baljit by rival side-back Narugopal Hait.
With Sporting trying to put up some resistance through Hyojun’s strike, Robin added his name in the scoresheet to further rub salt on the former’s injuries. Off Sanju Pradhan’s centre, an unmarked Robin had no problems in nodding it home.
Sporting coach Aloke Mukherjee replaced ’keeper Somnath Khara with P. Pramod, who took less than a minute to concede the sixth and final goal. Andrew Barisic, coming in place of Chidi, squared one for Robin, who had no problems in tapping it home.
Goalie Pramod could only watch, as the Sporting defence, by then, had been reduced to tatters.