| A Bhratri Sangha defender makes a desperate effort to stop Suley Musah during their Super Division tie at the East Bengal ground on Tuesday. Picture by Santosh Ghosh
Calcutta: East Bengal wasted several chances before remaining content with five goals against Bhratri Sangha in their Super Division match on Tuesday. However, it could easily have been 12 or more.
That, too, without Bhaichung Bhutia and Douglas da Silva. But the way K. Kulothungan and Raman Vijayan missed opportunities, it was quite evident that the duo will not make much headway from the reserve bench.
Suley Musah and Mike Okoro were also the culprit on a number of occasions, but they at least made up with a brace each. S. Malsawmtluanga completed the tally.
Bhratri Sangha coach Sishir Ghosh decided to stay away following a misunderstanding with the officials regarding fielding Barbara Ebi, a Nigerian.
The team looked all at sea against a rampant East Bengal, and their strategy was baffling. They tried to play an attacking game against the ASEAN champions, something which Mohun Bagan may not even dare to.
As a result, East Bengal got open spaces in the middle-third, and with such playmakers as Alvito D’Cunha and Malsawmtluanga in their ranks, the Bhratri defence was torn apart umpteen times.
To make matters worse, the Bhratri boys decided to employ the off-side trap and clearly lacked the intelligence to execute it. They were often caught on one line, and the wily Okoro, Musah and Malsawmtluanga made them look like novices.
East Bengal took the lead in the ninth minute, courtesy a defensive error. Bijen Singh’s long ball from the midfield was hanging around for quite sometime with Okoro chasing it, but the Bhratri defenders were in no mood to go for the clearance. Okoro was allowed to shoot and it beat the goalkeeper Vinod Mali on the first post, though he should have been covering it.
The second goal, in the 30th minute, came off a superb through from M. Suresh. Musah beat the off-side trap and placed it into the open net.
Mali failed to gather a Bijen header off an Alvito corner in the 40th minute, and Musah gleefully slotted the ball in for East Bengal’s third.
The way Mali was playing, it was a boon in disguise for Bhratri that he got injured in the process and had to be replaced by Arijit Sen Gupta. The substitute keeper saved the Bhratri goal, at least on four occasions.
The fourth goal, in the 60th minute, was a treat. Vijayan sold a dummy following a Musah through which opened up the defence, and Malsawmtluanga, beat the off-side trap put the ball in.
Okoro scored the fifth in the 71st minute, when Suresh’s ball from the midfield was set up by Malsawmtluanga.
East Bengal have 24 points from eight games, while Bhratri stay on 11 from 11.
East Bengal: Sandip Nandy (Jitu
Chettri, 56), Surkumar Singh, Dipak Mondal, M. Suresh, Mahesh Gawli, Dipankar Roy, Bijen Singh (Raman Vijayan, 46), Alvito D’Cunha (K. Kulothungan, 43), Suley Musah, S. Malsawmtluanga, Mike Okoro.
Bhratri Sangha: Vinod Mali (Arijit Sen Gupta, 41), Abhijit Dalal, Barbara Ebi, Amritalal Biswas, Asto Karar, Debu Pradhan, Gunabir Singh, Ranjan Sarkar, Sanjib Sashmal, Manoharan, Goutam Naha (Swarup Dey, 46).
Referee: Kalikinkar Banerjee.