VP Suhair nets hat-trick as EB make a flying start

Have a long road ahead, says coach Khalid

By A Staff Reporter
  • Published 13.08.17
Suhair celebrates after scoring the second goal. A Telegraph picture

Calcutta: East Bengal began their CFL title defence in style, routing the newly-promoted NBP Rainbow AC 4-1 in Saturday's Premier Division Group A match at their mud-splattered home ground.

The hero of the match was VP Suhair, who registered a hat-trick in his very first appearance for East Bengal. Brandon Vanlalremdika scored the fourth one for the red and gold brigade, while Chattu Mondal got the consolation goal for Rainbow AC.

In the build-up to the CFL, East Bengal coach Khalid Jamil had stressed on the importance of an early goal in matches against underdogs. That "early goal" came in the 18th minute.

Mohammed Rafique's pass from the middle found Suhair on the left. Facing his own goal, he fooled his marker with a lob, turned around and a smart left-footer to the far post beat Rainbow AC goalkeeper Ankur Das all ends up.

The second came two minutes before change of ends. Laldanmawia Ralte's shot slipped out of Ankur's grip and Suhar's left-footer off the rebound hit the bull's-eye. The hat-trick came just 20 seconds into the second half. And this time a delightful chip over 'keeper Das was enough.

Suhair is the fourth East Bengal player to score on debut after Ashim Moulick (1963), Shyam Thapa (1966), and Bikash Narzinary (2010). Interestingly, the occasion in 2010 was Trevor James Morgan's first match as East Bengal coach, like Saturday was Khalid's.

East Bengal's fourth goal came in the 72nd minute. Brandon on the left did all the good work and was duly rewarded when his smart placement found the target.

The only blemish came five minutes later. Rainbow AC's Chattu Mondal made no mistake when he had the empty net in front of him.

"We had a good match. A wining start is always very important. Now I will think about my next match," Khalid said.

About Suhair's hat-trick, Khalid said: "It was a good performance. That much I would say. It's just the start, though. We have a long road ahead," the coach added.

Yes, East Bengal have a long road ahead and more so, as the last seven seasons proved a brilliant CFL performance doesn't mean you will win trophies of national relevance.


East Bengal: Luis Barreto; Samad Ali Mondal, Arnab Mondal, Carlyle Mitchell, Lalramchullova; Laldanmawia Ralte (Surabuddin Mallick, 65), Mahmoud Al-Amna, Mohammed Rafique, Brandon Vanlalremdika (Yami Longvah, 90+1); Willis Plaza, VP Suhair (Cavin Lobo, 75).

NBP Rainbow AC: Ankur Das; Chattu Mondal (Rajib Ghorui 78), Krishna Biswas, Sheikh Saruk, Asik Khan, Abhijit Sarkar, Sourav Roy, Satendar Oraon, Sujay Dutta, Sumit Das, Yao Bernard.

Referee: Animesh Biswas.

MoM: VP Suhair.