East Bengal thrashed relegated United Sikkim FC 6-0 in a rescheduled 23rd round match of the I-League at the Salt Lake Stadium on Wednesday.
After five consecutive draws, East Bengal made a strong start and found the lead in the seventh minute when Nigerian Orji Penn slotted home an assist from his midfield colleague Naoba Singh. The visitors made little effort to get back into the match.
Mehtab Hossain made it 2-0 with a powerful pile-driver in the 21st minute. The East Bengal captain’s 25-yard attempt sailed over a stranded USFC goalkeeper Rakshit Kumar, making it a spectacular finish.
East Bengal continued to dominate with some quick passes that resulted in Nigerian striker Edeh Chidi setting up Lalrindika Ralte for a 3-0 lead in the 35th minute.
After a brief lull in the second half, the host started to find the back of the net.
Substitute Cavin Lobo found the target rather fortuitously when his attempt from outside the USFC box saw the ball hitting the upright before rolling across the line in the 78th minute.
East Bengal won a penalty in the 86th minute, which its Australian striker Andrew Barisic converted.
A fine one-two between Penn and Chidi inside the United Sikkim box opened up the visitor’s defence once again before the latter tapped home to make it 6-0 in the 88th minute.
The result: East Bengal 6 (Orji Penn 7, Mehtab Hossain 21, Lalrindika Ralte 35, Cavin Lobo 78, Andrew Barisic 86-pen, Edeh Chidi 88) bt United Sikkim FC 0. — Principal Correspondent