The Kolkata outfit continued their winning ways as they registered yet another victory in the I-League campaign...
East Bengal thrashed ONGC 5-0 at the Salt Lake Stadium, Kolkata in a round seven outing of the I-League. Chidi Edeh, Penn Orji, Manandeep Singh, Lalrindika Ralte and Robin Singh got their names on the scoresheet to continue East Bengal's unbeaten run this season. With 17 points onboard, they shall continue to be the league leaders while ONGC have only five points to show.
Trevor Morgan elected to start with unchanged eleven from the team that comprehensively beat Churchill Brothers in Goa. Edeh Chidi was partnered by Manadeep Singh in attack while Penn Orji played behind the two central strikers.
Subrata Bhattacharya had to make a forced change, as the star man of the last match, Robin Gurung was out with an injury and Rajib Boro made his way to the squad. Eric Brown and Surabuddin Mollick started on either side of Kailash Patil who was enforced with the duty of playing the lone striker up front.
The match started in a cagey manner with the play being concentrated more in the middle of the park. While Mehtab Hussain played the destroyer in midfield for the home side, Rajib Boro played a similar role for the opposition.
The first chance for Trevor Morgan’s side came in the fifteenth minute, as Harmanjot Singh Khabra almost got his head to a floated free-kick to the far post from Mehtab Hussain.
The goal came just ten minutes later as Uga Okpara played a long ball to Ishfaq Ahmed who made a darting run on the right wing, and beating his marker, Bimal Minz with ease, he headed the ball to Edeh Chidi. The Nigerian showed his class as he expertly turned his man and let loose a belter leaving Prosenjit Ghosh with no chance.
Although Subrata Bhattacharya’s wards looked to equalise after this, as they upped the tempo, it took more than 30 minutes or so for their first real chance on goal as Katsumi Yusa dribbled into the box with great poise and slided the ball back to Kenistan. His shot was weak and Gurpreet Sandhu had no trouble saving it easily.
Kenistan got yet another chance just two minutes before half time, when a brilliant interplay between Sachin Gawas and Jatin Singh Bisht on the right, allowed him space in the box but he could not pull the trigger allowing Uga Okpara to cover easily.
Chidi could have doubled his tally as Ishfaq Ahmed once again broke down the right and passed it to the Nigerian who was being shadowed by three ONGC defenders. However Chidi’s turn almost took all three out of the game, but he could not pull it off as he wanted.
Just before the half time whistle, Katsumi Yusa was at it again as this time he slipped in a ball for Kailash Patil, but the latter could not get at the end of it, allowing Sandhu to collect.
While the away side wanted to equalise in the second half, it was the Red and Gold who took the lead just six minutes after the restart. Uga Okpara had played a long speculative ball towards Chidi who displaying great vision, headed it onto the onrushing Penn Orji who made no mistake as he beat the goalkeeper with ease.
Just before the half an hour mark ONGC had two more chances to get a goal back but wasted both. First it was Kenistan who failed to convert from a Patil cross into the box. Thereafter Rajib Boro, unmarked on the far post, saw his shot go way wide off the target.
Things turned ugly just a minute later as ONGC central defender Sandeep Sangha was sent off as he picked two yellow cards in quick succession. The first was for a tackle on Manandeep while the second was for misbehaving with the referee.
East Bengal made the most of this opportunity as they scored their third goal soon after as Manandeep Singh did well to turn away from Sachim Gawas and scored from a swerving shot.
ONGC didn't give up as yet as they kept on creating chances. Kailash Patil made a foray into the opposition box and released Jatin Bisht who sent his shot straight into the hands of the East Bengal custodian.
Katsumi Yusa did well to cut inside Naoba Singh and let loose a fierce shot which was just about tipped over the bar by Gurpreet.
Lalrindika Ralte joined the party as he dribbled past a couple of ONGC players before letting loose a peach of a shot which didn't give any chance for the opposition goalkeeper to make it 4-0.
Substitute Robin Singh pounced on a mistake by Odeola to make it 5-0. The defender did not deal with the pass from his goalkeeper quickly enough and Singh was able to disposses him and slot his effort past the keeper.
Singh was involved in another couple of chances towards the end of the game but the hosts could not inflict further misery on a helpless ONGC side. The win takes East Bengal to the top of the table and keeps their unbeaten run in the league intact. Meanwhile, the vistors languish just above the drop zone with just 5 points from 7 outings.
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