Kolkata: Defending champions East Bengal brushed aside Tollygunge Agragami, just before the Kolkata derby putting up a comprehensive 5-0 win at the East Bengal ground on Tuesday. Star forward Willis Plaza scored a hat-trick, while Nikhil Poojari and Laldanmawia Ralte scored a goal apiece to bring up the win. Plaza also became the third East Bengal player after VP Suhair and Surabuddin Mollick to score a hat-trick in this year’s CFL campaign.
Aiming to get back to a win, the Red and Gold brigade started attacking right from the word go. The midfielders combined well with Plaza upfront and it was only a matter of time before East Bengal got their opening goal in the 26th minute. Plaza leaped above the rest to score a well-timed header from a corner. However, this was just a glimpse of what was to come in the second half.
The second half started with a bang as East Bengal scored within the first five minutes. Willis Plaza who had been running tirelessly all evening, dribbled past three Agragami defenders to double the lead for the home side. The 62nd minute saw the Trinidad and Tobago striker complete his hat-trick with a simple tap-in after Lalramchullova had laid in a brilliant ball from the left channel.
The third goal put Tollygunge Agragami completely out of the match and it was just a matter of time before East Bengal won. Nikhil Poojari got his name to the scoresheet scoring a goal in the 82nd minute before Laldanmawia Ralte put the final nail in the coffin in the next minute.
The win not only put East Bengal back to the top of the table but also boosted their confidence ahead of the title deciding derby on September 24. Moreover, the late form of Plaza in the last two matches (he scored the equalising goal vs Mohammedan Sporting in the 87th minute) will add to their strength.
Both the Kolkata giants, East Bengal and Mohun Bagan are tied with 22 points but East Bengal lead the table, courtesy a greater goal difference. They take on Mohun Bagan in the all important first derby of the season and a draw will be sufficient for them to secure a record eight consecutive CFL title. The match is slated to take place on September 24 at the Kanchenjunga stadium in siliguri.
East Bengal supporters hurl stones at Bagan camp
With the high-voltage Kolkata derby just knocking on the door, a shameful incident took place at Maidan near the Mohun Bagan club tent on Tuesday, when few East Bengal supporters hurled stones at the Mohun Bagan camp damaging the club gate in the process. The incident occurred after East Bengal had beaten Tollygunge Agragami 5-0 in their penultimate CFL match.
Although there is a long-standing rivalry between both the clubs such a low act was seen for the first time.
Bagan official Debashish Dutta condemned the act saying, “We have got video footage and we will register a FIR against the miscreants. But more importantly, we are waiting for East Bengal club to take a stern action against this set of fans. The Kolkata Derby is coming up and such reactions from the East Bengal fans may create serious consequences,” reported Goal.com.