Striker Dudu Omagbemi pumped in four goals, including a hat-trick, as East Bengal thumped Chennai City FC 7-1 to remain in the I-League title race on Saturday. Playing host at the Salt Lake Stadium here, EB gave a commanding performance to take its tally to 29 points after 16 matches and reach the second place.

East Bengal was frustrated in the first quarter as several of its moves were either thwarted by the Chennai defenders or lacked the finishing touch. Once it tasted blood, through Al Amna's 20th minute goal, the home team looked unstoppable. Al Amna, who received a long aerial ball from Lalram Chullova, got lucky in his third attempt after being blocked by Chennai goalkeeper T.Kabir.

Minutes later, Al Amna was again in action. He fed the ball to to Chullova, whose cross from the left was inadvertently slotted in by a sliding Chennai defender Dharmaraj Ravanan.

Dudu steals the limelight

East Bengal banked on the superb momentum to rattle the Chennai defence and Omagbemi hogged the limelight with his unbelievable performance. The well-built Nigerian began his hunt with a stunning goal. Showing opportunism, Omagbemi latched on to a loose pass by Mehtab Singh inside the box and shot home in the 32nd minute.

When East Bengal returned to the pitch with a 3-0 lead in the second half, Omagbemi made the most of another scintillating move from the dashing Al Amna to score his second. Ansumana Kromah made some contribution when he nicely took it up and set up Omagbemi to beat an advancing Kabir through a grounder.

Amidst several missed opportunities, Chennai managed to reduce the margin as Mashoor Shereef put a beautiful ball from the left into the net.

Omagbemi netted his fourth off a deflection originating from a corner and Gabriel Fernanades scored his first goal to complete East Bengal's biggest win of the season.

The result: East Bengal 7 (Al Amna 20'; Ravanan (OG) 23'; Dudu 32', 49', 56', 60'; Gabriel 84') bt Chennai City FC 1 (Mashoor 59').

We had erroneously published on Saturday that Chennai City FC had been relegated from the I-League. The team has not been relegated.