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 October 20, 2002 | 2000 IST

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Dipendu Biswas nets
four for Bengal

Bengal thrashed Rajasthan 7-0 while Maharashtra and Himachal Pradesh sailed past their opponents in preliminary round league matches in the 58th National Football Championship, for the Santosh Trophy, in Imphal on Sunday.

Maharashtra posted a comfortable 2-0 victory in a cluster two encounter against Chandigarh while Himachal Pradesh won by 1-0 margin against Pondicherry in cluster four.

The cluster three engagement between Punjab and Madhya Pradesh and cluster five matches between Bihar and Andhra Pradesh and Assam and Daman & Diu were postponed due to heavy rains.

Bengal rode on four strikes by forward Dipendu Biswas to trounce minnows Rajasthan in the cluster one tie at the Imphal pologround Mapal Kangjeibung.

Dominating right from the beginning, Bengal drew first blood through Biswas as early as the 14th minute. But it was a rapid fire of three goals within a span of four minutes that finished the opponents' hopes by the lemon break itself.

Sandip Das found the target in the 37th minute while Biswas and his partner upfront Amar Byne struck their own in successive minutes to take 4-0 lead by just 41 minutes into the game.

Byne scored his second in the 52st minute while Biswas netted two goals in the 73rd and 77th minutes to make the scoreline 7-0.

Rajasthan had earlier suffered a 0-4 defeat against Jammu and Kashmir.

In the cluster two encounter, Maharashtra had a tough time breaking the Chandigarh defence in the first half and had to wait till the 70th minute to penetrate the goalmouth.

The winners took the lead by converting a penalty awarded after Chandigarh's Jatinder Singh handed the ball near goal-line.

While Singh was given marching orders, Naushad Moosa made no mistake in putting the ball into the net.

Five miutes later, Asad Qureshi scored an insurance goal to ensure full three points for Maharashtra.

The tie between Himachal Pradesh and Pondicherry ended goalless in the first half.

The solitary goal in the match came in the second half when Himachal striker Ranvindar Thakur shot home from close after getting a pass from Sunil Kumar.

The venue for the cluster four match was shifted from Eastern Sporting Union ground to Thau ground due to heavy rains.

Complete Coverage: Santosh Trophy 2002