Calcutta: East Bengal ended 2013 on a winning note, routing Railway FC 4-1 in a Calcutta Football League championship-round match, at the club ground, here, on Tuesday.
Lalrindika Ralte opened the scoring in the 26th minute and then Harmanjyot Singh Khabra made it 2-0 in the added-on time of the first half. Seimenlen Doungel, thereafter, netted a brace after the change of ends.
Substitute Srimanta Roy reduced the margin for Railway FC five minutes before the final whistle.
East Bengal are now on top of the CFL table. They have same number of points as Mohun Bagan — 21 — and the goal difference is also identical, 24 scored and four against. But East Bengal have played seven matches, while their arch-rivals have already made nine appearances.
East Bengal, though, could have won by a bigger margin. But James Moga, Khabra, Doungel and Robert Lalthlamuana missed chances galore.
Doungel could have added two more to his name, but he just didn’t know how to put the ball into an empty net. That was before half-time though. Probably, he had left his goal-scoring boots in the locker room. However, he put them on during the break as he did lot of running and created space for himself in the next 45 minutes.
“He is improving with every match,” Colaco said.
East Bengal went ahead in the 26th minute. A Railway FC defender brought down Ryuji Sueoka inside the box and referee Konika Barman, who created history by being the first woman to officiate a match featuring one of the big clubs, had no hesitation in awarding a penalty.
The Railway FC players protested vehemently, but the 20-year-old showed courage and refused to budge. Play was stopped for three minutes and in the 26th, Ralte converted the penalty without much fuss.
The second came in the second minute of the injury time. Naoba crossed from the left and Khabra’s header hit the inside of the near post and nestled into the net.
The third came at the hour mark. A brilliant Moga centre from the right and Doungel leapt high to head it home. Doungel got his second three minutes later. Substitute Shylo ‘Mama’ Malsawmtluanga played a delightful ball to Doungel who made no mistake in finding the back of the net.
Railway FC reduced the margin albeit with lot of help from Robert. In a bid to clear substitute Srimanta’s speculative centre from the left, Robert volleyed it into his own goal. The centre was not goal bound. Still, Konika awarded the goal to Srimanta.
East Bengal: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (Abhra Mondal 72); Naoba Singh, Raju Gaikwad, Arnab Mondal, Robert Lalthlamuana, Lalrindika Ralte (Shylo Malsawmtluanga 46), Harmamjyot Singh Khabra (Cavin Lobo 61), Ryuji Sueoka, Reisangmi Vashum, James Moga, Seiminlen Doungel.
Railway FC: Ranjit Jana; Babu Mondal, Mohammed Yasin, Ienayi Samuel, Pradip Roy, Tanmay Kundu (Tamal Mukherjee 62), Srikanta Banerjee, Asit Santra, Alam Gazi (Srimanta Roy 46), Mirajul Haque, Raju Oraon.
Referee: Konika Barman
MoM: Seiminlen Doungel