Kingfisher East Bengal found its form to outplay Dempo SC 3-1 in a Hero I-League match at the Salt Lake Stadium here on Saturday. Dudu Omagbemi, Ranti Martins and Shylo Malsawmtluanga found the target for the host and Tolgey Ozbey pulled one back for the visitors.
East Bengal is now on 26 points from seven wins in 15 matches while Dempo remains on 16 from 15 games.
The victory also keeps East Bengal within striking distance of the title should the table toppers falter in the next few rounds.
It was a satisfying game for East Bengal against a depleted Dempo outfit. The way the two strikers, Dudu and Ranti, operated upfront with the midfield supporting them was what proved eventually decisive.
It was Omagbemi’s opportunism that fetched his team’s first goal. He made the most of a defensive lapse off a long high ball played into the penalty area. He lobbed the ball over an advancing goalkeeper Laxmikant Kattimani in the 22nd minute.
Two minutes later, Martins showed his brilliance powerfully nodding home Tluanga’s centre from midfield.
East Bengal’s dominance continued into the second half. The host scored again to make it 3-0 when man-of-the-match Tluanga’s snap shot from 25 metres out rocketed into the net. Ozbey, who looked a big threat to East Bengal since coming in as a substitute at the halftime, saw his effort being saved by Deepak Mandal on the goalline.
It was Ozbey who stepped up to take the penalty when Gurwinder Singh brought down Sushil Kumar inside the box, and the Aussie converted the 84th minute spot-kick to reduce the margin.
The results: At Kolkata: Kingfisher East Bengal 3 (Dudu Omagbemi 22, Ranti Martins 24, Shylo Malsawmtluanga 64) bt Dempo Sc (Tolgey Ozbey 84).
At Shillong: Salgaocar FC 3 (Augustin Fernandes 8, Bikash Jairu 22, Douhou Pierre 44) bt Shillong Lajong FC 1 (Uilliams Souza Silva 66).
At Pune: Pune FC 0 lost to Mohun Bagan 2 (J. Lalpekhlua 5, Y.Katsumi 75).
- Up to 35% off or more on sporting goods
- ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 Merchandise