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Thursday, Dec 30, 2010
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KOLKATA: Ten-man East Bengal beat out a tennis score-line to ground visiting Air India 6-1 and continued its all-win record in the sixth round of the I-League, at the Salt Lake Stadium here on Wednesday.
Australian striker Tolgay Ozbey flourished in East Bengal's big win, scoring a brace while Robin Singh, Saumik Dey, Mehtab Hussain and Ravinder Singh accounted for one each. The only reply for Air India came from its striker Eric Boiwe.
The host made its intent clear with an early 10th-minute goal, which came off Saumik Dey, who helped finish a move created by Ozbey.
The attack machinery of East Bengal seemed to be working with a greater efficiency which was evident in the way the team regularly raided the opponent goal. Robin Singh, who had missed an easy scoring chance earlier, capitalised on a second opportunity in the 32nd minute, when he drove home a powerful left-footer after Orgi Penn — the creative midfielder — found him unmarked inside the Air India box.
As Air India struggled to plug the gaps in its defence, Ozbey compounded its problems, firing in the third goal for East Bengal in the 42nd minute.
The interval hardly seemed to make any difference to the trend as the host returned with renewed vigour. Ozbey made it 4-0 in the 49th minute, making the most of a Sanju Pradhan pass.
Boiwe restored some hope in the battered ranks of Air India, reducing the margin off an Uttam Singh long throw in the 55th minute (4-1).
East Bengal suffered another blow in the 80th minute when Robin Singh collected his second booking off a needless foul on Air India custodian Arup Debnath and was sent off by referee Pratap Singh.
Robin, who collected his first booking for feigning a foul in the first half, seemed to prove his immaturity, collecting the red card which he could have easily avoided.
Despite its numerical disadvantage, East Bengal continued the search for goals and found two more in quick succession. Midfielder Mehtab Hussain made it 5-1 in the 90th minute, before Ravinder Singh came up from his defensive position to seal the issue in injury-time (6-1).
East Bengal remained on top of the standings with 18 points from six wins, while Air India remained on three points after six outings.
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