East Bengal march forward in the I-League, with a convincing 3-1 victory over Dempo SC, at the Salt Lake Stadium, Kolkata. Dudu Omagbemi scored the opening goal of the game in the 22nd minute. Ranti Martins doubled the lead just 3 minutes later. Shylo Malsawmtluanga scored a blinder of a goal in the 64th minute to seal the fate of the match. Dempo’s Australian striker Tolgay Ozbey found one goal back in the 83rd minute from the penalty spot.
East Bengal were clear favourites against a comparatively weaker Dempo SC in today’s game. The home side had to pick up three points in this vital home fixture to remain in the title hunt. Eelco Schattorie made just one change in his starting lineup. Shylo Malsawmtluanga replaced Leo Bertos in the midfield.
Trevor James Morgan, on the other hand, fielded 5 defenders from the beginning which reflected a defensive approach from the British coach. Unfortunately, Haroon Fakhruddin Amiri had to be replaced as early as in the 20th minute due to an injury. Veteran Goan player Clifford Miranda replaced him.
The five defender tactics seemed initially successful as East Bengal failed to score even after mounting a full attack for the first 20 minutes. As soon as the Afghan defender was replaced, Dudu Omagbemi jolted the Dempo defense with the opening goal. The goal was a result of a well-planned move among the East Bengal players from a counter attack. Dudu received the ball at the edge of the penalty box and lobbed it over a forthcoming Laxmikant Kattimani.
The second goal from Ranti Martins’ header came just 3 minutes after the first. Another well-coordinated move set the tone of the second goal. This time Shylo Mama provided a curling cross towards Ranti Martins who guided the ball brilliantly into the back of the net. After the brace of goals, East Bengal were all over Dempo. They attacked in numbers and looked extremely dangerous.
Dempo did not look determined enough in the second half as they indulged in lazy football. East Bengal looked hungry for more goals. Their approach yielded them a third goal in the 64th minute from the foot of Shylo Malsawmtluanga. The Mizoram midfielder sent out a pile driver at the Dempo goal from almost 25 yards away with an out step. Laxmikant Kattimani stood hapless under the bar and saw the ball go in.
Shylo’s goal sealed the fate of the game and confirmed full points for East Bengal. The home side thereafter played possession football in the midfield area and frustrated the Dempo players.
Dempo came back into the match after 75 minutes as they launched a series of attacks on the East Bengal defense. Sushil Kumar Singh once came close to scoring, but his shot went wide without troubling Abhijeet Mondal.
The away side found one goal back in the 82nd minute. Gurwinder Singh fouled Sushil Singh inside the box and a penalty was awarded immediately. Tolgay Ozbey pulled one back from the spot.
The win takes East Bengal to 26 points and they are now serious title contenders. Dempo, on the other hand, are struggling at the bottom half of the table and still have relegation concerns.Published 25 Apr 2015, 19:04 IST