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 March 2, 2002 | 1910 IST

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Mohun Bagan rout F C Kochin

Formidable Mohun Bagan put their title quest back on rails, blanking F C Kochin 3-0 in a one-sided National Football League encounter in Kolkata on Saturday.

Nigerian Abdullatif Seriki emerged the star of the day at the Salt Lake stadium as he not only struck a brace but also played a vital role in the other goal, which was scored by R C Prakash.

The victory propelled Bagan to the fourth position in the league standings with 22 points from 13 matches.

Bagan, who had dropped to the eighth spot after two consecutive losses -- against Mahindra United and Vasco Sports Club, looked a transformed side, impressive in all departments of the game, despite the absence of star Brazilian striker Jose Ramirez Barreto and his compatriot and defensive fulcrum Amauri de Silva due to double bookings.

Nothing seemed to go right for F C Kochin, and they were unable to have a look at the Bagan goal even once. They now have only 10 points from 13 matches.

Determined to settle the issue quickly, Bagan went ahead as early as the fourth minute as Dulal Biswas essayed a 30-yard centre, which Seriki trapped well and then lost no time in setting up Prakash to chip into goal.

Bagan kept up the tempo and was rewarded only five minutes later when Seriki again slammed home, keeping Kochin defender Niaz Rahman at bay, after the spadework was done by Basudeb Mandal.

Ahead 2-0 at the breather, the winners scored an insurance goal in the 73rd minute, with Seriki finding the target with a header from close. Kochin goalkeeper Shibu Shanmugam was foxed as the ball dropped just before him before bouncing into the net (3-0).

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