East Bengal outclassed arch-rivals Mohun Bagan 4-0 to equal their old record of six consecutive Calcutta Football League (CFL) titles in front of around 75,000 spectators at the Salt Lake stadium here on Sunday.
The red and golds’ new South Korean midfielder Do Dong-hyung set up the resounding win by converting two masterly free-kicks in the 2nd and 38th minute of the Calcutta Football League premier division-A encounter.
Mohammed Rafique headed in from close range eight minutes from the end of regulation time and Rahul Bheke added another in injury time to complete Mohun Bagan’s misery.
It was simply not Mohun Bagan’s day. Down 0-2 at the breather, the mariners were reduced to 10 men when their star striker Nigerian Dudu Omagbemi was evicted in the 53nd minute after his second yellow booking.
The victory inflated East Bengal’s kitty to 25 points from nine games while Mohun Bagan remained at 11 points from seven outings.
It is the second time that East Bengal have won six back-to-back local football league titles. Earlier, they had triumphed at a stretch from 1970 to 75 during their footballing heydays.
Do Dong-hyung, who has captured the fans’ hearts in short time with his skills and razor-sharp shooting, Afound the net with a brilliant left footed free-kick as early as the second minute to tilt the game in his team’s favour.
The diminutive foreigner curled the ball in past the diving hands of rival goalkeeper Shilton Paul with power and precision from nearly 30 yards.
Thereafter, both teams had their chances, though the bulk of the action was restricted to the midfield zone.
In the 17th minute, Mohun Bagan’s Dudu could have restored parity for his side but he missed a golden opportunity failing to head in from close range.
Mohun Bagan’s other attackers, Azharuddin Mallik and Lalkamal Bhowmick tried from long distances but their efforts sailed wide.
Seven minutes from the breather, Mohun Bagan defender Sanjay Balmuchu brought down Rafique near the penalty box and it was Dong who again capitalised on it with another similar dipping vicious left-footer, much to the delight of a strong East Bengal crowd.
After the breather, Mohun Bagan tried to inject some pace into their midfield by introducing Japanese Katsumi Yusa, but their plans failed to take off as Dudu was sent off.
A few minutes later, the Mohun Bagan defence was thrown wide open again but a desperate Paul managed to keep the ball out. East Bengal came close a minute later but this time the attempt was cleared off the goalline by defender Balmuchu.
Mohun Bagan made some desperate efforts toA stage a comeback, but depleted and disheartened with the ouster of the star goalscorer, their attacks lacked sting and bite.
However, East Bengal yet again seized the initiative with Rafique heading in a cross from the left flank to bulge the scoreline 3-0.
But for Mohun Bagan the suffering was not yet complete. Bheke put the finish touches to East Bengal’s supremacy by heading in a corner from the right flank, triggering delirious scenes of joy at the galleries flooded by the red and golds’ supporters.