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East Bengal trounce Vasco

Source: PTI
January 27, 2005 20:27 IST
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Defending champions East Bengal warded off a second half challenge from Vasco to score a convincing 3-0 victory in a fourth round match in the ninth National Football League in Margao, Goa, on Thursday.

The Bengal giants, who dominated the first half, took the lead in the 31st minute through Selwyn Fernandes.

Climax Lawrence increased the lead in the 74th minute with a back header off a flag-kick by Chandan Das. Star striker Baichung Bhutia then made the issue safe in injury time.

East Bengal, who thus registered their second victory, now have eight points from four matches.

Vasco, who suffered their third defeat, have just one point from four matches.

East Bengal, who had Vasco under pressure before the break, had a clear chance in the 13th minute when S Malsawmtluanga intercepted a back pass from Agnelo Colaco, beat on rushing goalkeeper Ramos but drove the ball wide in front of an empty net.

Ramos again came into the picture two minutes later and this time he tipped the ball over following a free-kick by Douglas.

East Bengal surged ahead after Bhutia initiated the move from the middle. He relayed the ball to Malsawma, who found Selwyn Fernandes. The overlapping defender got the better of Nicolau Colaco and send a firm grounder past 'keeper Ramos.

Vasco went all out to find an answer to that goal in the dying minutes of the first half and Sushant Mathew's shot missed the target narrowly. They Goans were also unlucky when referee B K Singh denied them a penalty after Rahim Nabi tripped Sidney Rodrigues from behind inside the box.

After the change of ends, the Vasco midfield coordinated well and their Brazilian duo of Sidney Rodrigues and Fabio Xavier made penetrating forays at regular intervals. Twice East Bengal 'keeper Rajat Ghosh Dastidar was forced to bring off diving saves off Fabio and Kamal Thapa.

Vasco maintained the pressure but goals remained elusive. Thrice the ball hit the post in the closing stages of the first half, thwarting Sidney, Sushant and substitute K Aseem.

The red and yellow brigade, who played a waiting game in the second half, increased the lead when Climax came up with a spectacular back-header off a flag kick, taken by Chandan Das.

The champions then delivered the knock-out punch when Bhutia snatched the ball from the 'keeper and bulged the net.

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