East Bengal thrashed arch-rivals Mohun Bagan 4-0 at the Salt Lake Stadium on Sunday afternoon to clinch the Calcutta Football League (CFL) for the sixth consecutive season. Do Dong Hyun scored a brace in the first half before Mohammed Rafique and Rahul Bheke chipped in with two late goals in the second half.
Biswajit Bhattacharya left Ranti Martins on the bench with Bello Rasaq and Do Dong Hyun being the two foreigners in the starting line-up. On the other hand, Sanjoy Sen handed a start to Haiti defender Judelin Aveska while Dudu Omagbemi was preferred over Yusa Katsumi.
It took East Bengal only a couple of minutes to break the deadlock with Do Dong Hyun, the highest scorer in the league, adding to his tally. Aveksa brought Mohammed Rafique down in front of the Mohun Bagan box and the South Korean stepped up to take the free-kick. His left-footed shot from 25 yards out sailed over the wall and hit the back of the net past the outstretched hands of Bagan skipper Shilton Paul.
Rattled by the early shock, the Mariners resorted to route-one football as they thumped long balls forward to Dudu Omagbemi. Kean Lewis showed glimpses of creativity but Lalkamal Bhowmick and K. Asif were lacklustre at the center of the park.
In the 5th minute of the match, Dudu sent a grounded cross into the area which took a wicked deflection off Robert Lalthlamuana but the East Bengal defender was lucky to see the ball go out for a corner.
In the 17th minute, Tirthankar sent in a cross from the left for Dudu but the Nigerian couldn’t direct his free header perfectly. In the next move, Bikash Jairu ran into acres of free space at the other end of the pitch but Rafique dwelled on the ball for too long and spoiled the move after being fed with a cross.
Mohun Bagan had another half-chance to restore parity but Azaharuddin Mullick’s effort from the edge of the half-circle missed the target by some distance.
On the half-hour mark, Judelin Aveksa got hold of a loose ball inside the Red and Gold territory but his shot was straight at Luis Barreto.
It was Do Dong again who doubled the lead for the defending champions in the 38th minute. Sanjay Balmuchu was caught out of position by an East Bengal attack and he tackled Rafique from behind in front of the box to concede a free-kick. Do Dong pulled the trigger in an almost identical fashion and Shilton was beaten once again as half of the attendance went frenzy in celebration.
Just on the brink of half-time, Bikash Jairu cut in from the right and tried his luck from distance but his shot was straight at the Bagan custodian.
East Bengal went into the lead with a two-goal cushion as the fears of a more humiliating margin loomed large among the Green and Maroon faithful.
Sanjoy Sen introduced Katsumi into the action at half-time with Azharuddin Mullick making way for him. Former East Bengal defender Safar Sardar filled the void in central defence as Judelin Aveska was taken off.
However, only six minutes into the second half, Mohun Bagan were handed a major jolt, courtesy a controversial decision by referee Ranjit Bakshi. Dudu Omagbemi, who was booked for a soft foul in the first half, was shown a second yellow for allegedly tugging Khabra’s shirt from behind. The Bagan players protested in unison but the second highest scorer of the competition had to leave the ground in tears.
Just before the hour mark, Bikash Jairu sent in a low curled cross into the box from the left but Shilton left his first mark on the match by diving to keep the ball away from danger.
Only a few minutes later, Bikash could’ve scored a goal in his derby debut but saw his effort being cleared off the goal-line. Mohammed Rafique’s cross from the right had beaten Shilton Paul and it fell to the Sikkim lad on the other end of the box but his shot on target was cleared off the line by Sanjay Balmuchu.
At the other end, Tirthankar Sarkar fed Katsumi with a delicious cross but the Japanese couldn’t keep his header on target.
Mohammed Rafique kept his habit of scoring in the big matches intact as he headed home from a Bikash Jairu cross to extend the lead for Bhattacharya’s outfit.
It was not the end of the humiliating afternoon for the Mariners as Rahul Bheke headed in a fourth goal from a corner in added time to script arguably the best ever derby win in the 90 year old history of the Calcutta Football League.