A fine hat-trick by striker Chidi Edeh fashioned Kingfisher East Bengal’s second entry into the quarterfinals of the AFC Cup here on Wednesday. The home team beat Yangon United 5-1 in a one-sided contest. East Bengal last made it to this stage in 2005.
A solid defence, hardworking and imaginative mid-field combined with the opportunistic frontline gave the home team the upper hand. East Bengal controlled play thanks to seasoned Penn Orji, whose stream of passes exposed the opposition defence.
A lot depended on the poaching ability of Yangon’s striker from Ivory Coast, Adama Kone, for the team to prosper. But left stopper Uga Okpara kept a hawk eye on the big-built forward, making him totally ineffective. Yangon’s Brazilian forward Cezar Augusto Hermenegildo looked just above average on the face of poor supply from the mid-field.
Medio Kyi Lin showed good skill and fighting ability but received little support from his compatriots. With the Yangon defence becoming increasingly shaky, East Bengal’s second minute goal by Penn Orji opened up the flood gates.
The second minute goal itself was executed with precision. Defender Okpara dispossessed a rival player and sent in a long through to Chidi, who shielded the ball from defender Michael Cvetkovski and opened up the defence with a low cross to the centre of the box. Unmarked Penn volleyed home.
Kone shot overt a chance 10minutes later, after which Chidi had two great tries in the 17th and 18th minutes to indicate the things to come.
After Lalrindika Ralte’s shot hit a defender and went out of play, East Bengal got the second goal in the 24th minute. Andrew Barisic took control of the ball from Penn’s long diagonal through to the right, before releasing a grounder across the goalmouth. Chidi punted in with élan.
Even the change of side did not improve Yangon United’s play. The defence remained shaky and the midfield ineffective. East Bengal made the most of the situation as captain Mehtab Hossain found the back of the net with a long-ranger after Chidi, on the right wing, back passed to Penn. The Nigerian leapt over the ball as Mehtab charged in to slam the drive past goaltender Naing Zayar Tun.
East Bengal continued to control the play as Chidi struck twice in the 70th and 75th minutes to make it 5-0.
The visitors pulled one back through Cezar for the consolation goal after substitute Si Thu Aung’s low cross from left found the home defender slow to react.