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East Bengal thrash Shillong Lajong 5-1 in I-League

East Bengal’s 5-1 victory over a young Shillong Lajong side is the biggest in 11 I-League games so far this season

football Updated: Dec 09, 2017 23:49 IST
Dhiman Sarkar
Dhiman Sarkar
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
I-League,Indian football,East Bengal
East Bengal cruised to a comfortable 5-1 win over Shillong Lajong in the I-League on Saturday.(AIFF)

Whether starting troubles have ended will be known over time but East Bengal sure brightened a wet, cold Saturday with a 5-1 win against Shillong Lajong. East Bengal’s first win in three games of the I-League is the biggest of the competition so far and also the first defeat for Shillong Lajong this term.

For the second time in three games East Bengal were 2-0 up, this time within 20 minutes, through Mahmoud Al-Amna and Eduardo Ferreira. Unlike against defending champions Aizawl FC, there would be no comebacks because Shillong Lajong kept ceding space in dangerous areas at the Barasat Stadium near here.

So, it was 3-0 in the 52nd minute when Al-Amna produced the pass of the match and 4-0 in the 64th; both goals scored by Laldanmawia Ralte. One of the five changes made by East Bengal coach Khalid Jamil after Sunday’s 0-1 loss in the Kolkata derby, Ralte also won a penalty in the 79th minute which Katsumi Yusa converted.

Samuel Lalmuanpuia, Shillong Lajong’s 19-year-old deadball specialist on the night, made it 1-5 with a free-kick beauty; the shot arrowing into the side-netting past goalie Mirshad K whose nervy start gave East Bengal anxious moments before Al-Amna broke the deadlock.

That was in the 14th minute, the Syrian showing nifty footwork that had Shillong Lajong central defender Laurence Doe swaying in anticipation before his shot took a deflection off left-back Rakesh Pradhan and giving goalie Phurba Lachenpa no chance. It was the first goal shipped by Shillong Lajong after two wins with clean sheets.

Five minutes later, it was 2-0 when Eduardo Ferreira rose tallest to flick home a Katsumi Yusa corner-kick. At the near post, Redeem Tlang couldn’t cut off the delivery and it was the 22-year-old medio who barrelled into Ralte for the penalty.

By the time Al-Amna threaded an angular grounder through the inside channel from which Ralte scored after rounding Lachenpa, the game was over as a contest. Encapsulating how everything went pear-shaped for Lajong, the youngest team in this competition barring the Indian Arrows, was how Ralte scored his second. The wide right hungered for the ball which Shillong Lajong couldn’t clear and when central defender Juhu Oh went belly-up while retreating, Ralte again had only Lachenpa to beat.

About the only thing that might rankle for East Bengal is Willis Plaza’s lack of form but the Trinidad and Tobago international did have an important touch for the fourth goal.

East Bengal have four points from three games and Shillong Lajong six from as many games.

SCORELINE: East Bengal 5 (Al-Amna 14; Ferreira 19, Ralte 52, 64; Yusa 79) Shillong Lajong 1 (Lalmuanpuia 87)

First Published: Dec 09, 2017 21:47 IST