East Bengal's revival continues, albeit a few questionable decisions. And it was again the forward duo of Abel Hammond and Yusif Yakubu who came up with the goods against a spirited Lajong FC. East Bengal now have 12 points. Lajong FC stay on eight.
Ironic that considering Belgian coach Philippe de Ridder didn't even consider Hammond for the starting XI. The Ghanaian, however, replied in kind, scoring two goals to give East Bengal their third consecutive win and the right impetus to go into the year-end league break on a high. He came on after Bhaichung Bhutia limped off inside the first half an hour.
Shuffling the midfield that has been lately in form was not on cards. But De Ridder went ahead with his instincts to introduce B. Beikhokhei in the middle, pushing Australian Srecko Mitrovic to the right. Beikhokhei however, couldn't deliver.
Lajong FC too dug deep to prevent letting in an early goal. Hammond changed it within 10 minutes of arrival. Receiving Nabi's through on the left, Hammond unleashed a flick on the run that beat the advancing goalie Gumpe Rime.
Lajong improved their performance several notches in the second half. Marlangki Suting's fine run along the left proved to be a dud as he shot over after placing himself perfectly to engage East Bengal custodian Avijit Ghosh.
Going against the tide, Hammond struck in the final minute of regulation time. Suting's failure to clear the ball allowed the Ghanaian to drive in his team's second goal. East Bengal further consolidated their lead in the extra time when Yakubu - after a series of misses — received Singh's cross to superbly slot home the third.
Dempo move on top
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Mahindra win derby
Mumbai: Nigerian striker Subair Muritala Ali’s hattrick and Md Rafi's goal took Mahindra to a 4-0 victory.