KOLKATA: East Bengal put in a stellar second-half performance to blank Peerless Sports Club 5-1 on Saturday at East Bengal Ground.
The Red and Golds took the lead through Wills Plaza only for Rahim Nabi to equalize for Peerless. However, the Kalid Jamil-coached side added four in the second session through substitutes Gabriel Fernandes and Surabuddin Mallick, who scored an hat-trick, to register third successive win in CFL Premier Division – A.
Going into the game, Jamil made just one change from the side that beat Calcutta Customs midweek, with Richard Costa making way for Prakash Sarkar.
East Bengal started the brighter, with Suhair V.P forcing an early save from Surjay Pariyar in the Peerless goal.
However, the Peerless started to come to life after Nabi moved across to the right flank, switching sides with Anil Kisku. The former India international cut inside before firing a shot just wide to signal Peerless’ emergence as an attacking threat.
East Bengal, meanwhile, continued to dominate the proceedings and having missed a host of chances till the half hour mark, the breakthrough finally arrived in the 29th minute when Plaza made the most of Peerless defender Akhil Rajbanshi’s misjudgment to head home the opener from Mahmoud Al Amna’s cross.
The goal gave East Bengal a morale boost as they began pushing up in numbers. A few good chances fell for Suhair and Laldanmawaia Ralte but they lacked the killer finish inside the box.
At the other end, Peerless pulled level through Nabi, who rose to connect with a corner from Shahrukh Rahman which found a route past the East Bengal goalkeeper Luis Barreto in the 38th minute.
Thereafter, both sides had a few chances in closing minutes but couldn’t convert as the scoreline remained one-goal-a-piece going into the breather.
East Bengal started the second half brightly like they did the first and almost went in front six minutes into the session when a free-kick from outside the box by Al Amna passed just over the bar.
Seven minutes later it was the turn of Plaza to force Surjay to fumble his low shot drilled from distance for a corner. The Trinidadian international again tried his luck from distance soon after, but again found no success.
On the other hand, Peerless, having thus been bruised, reacted thorough Ivorian striker Leonce Dodoz who forced Barreto to dive low and keep out his goal-bound header at the near post.
East Bengal continued to put pressure and held midfield supremacy, but had to wait till the 72nd minute to regain their lead. Surabuddin with a brilliant run on the right got past his marker and chipped across the goal to Gabriel who headed in at the far post.
The goal opened floodgates as East Bengal added two mare in next eight minutes through Surabuddin to take the game away from Peerless’ grasp.
First it was Surabuddin who head past Surjay from Gabriel’s right sided corner in the 75th minute before finding the back of the two minutes later from Lalramchullova’s pass.
Peerless tried their best in reducing the margin and came with few counter moves but failed to get past Barreto who effected some good saves.
Surabuddin then capped the day scoring from Samad Ali Mallick’s low cross inside the box to complete his hat-trick.