East Bengal came up with its best showing in the Indian Super League (ISL) as it blanked NorthEast United FC (NEUFC) 5-0 in an ISL-10 fixture at the Salt Lake Stadium here on Monday.
Cleiton Silva and second-half substitute Nandhakumar Sekar struck the target twice each after Borja Herrera had found the lead, making it the most memorable outing for East Bengal in the ISL.
This was only the second win of the season for East Bengal, which climbed to the seventh spot with eight points from seven matches. NEUFC remained in the sixth spot on nine points after playing eight matches.
East Bengal pressed for the lead right from the start and found the opening goal quite spectacularly in the 14th minute when Herrera was set up on top of the NEUFC box by a nice assist from the young P.V. Vishnu.
The Spanish midfielder unleashed a rasping left-footer that found the corner of the NorthEast net. East Bengal built on the moment and doubled the lead in the 24th minute when the Spanish play-maker Saul Crespo used a ‘ rabona kick’ effectively to release Mandar Rao Desai.
The East Bengal left-back essayed a sharp lob that was nodded home by the Brazilian striker Cleiton. East Bengal had another chance off Vishnu in the 45th minute, but NorthEast goalkeeper K. Mirshad blocked the effort from the former.
East Bengal returned after the break with a greater resolve and trebled the lead in the 62nd minute, this time off substitute Nandhakumar, who replaced Vishnu in the half-time.
The attacking left-winger made his late induction count one again as he assisted Cleiton in the 66th minute to make it 4-0. It was another ‘ rabona from Crespo that cleared the path inside the NorthEast box for Nandhakumar to set up the cross for Cleiton.
Nandha completed the scoring process in the 81st minute, flicking home an assist from Naorem Mahesh Singh.
It simply was not NorthEast’s day, as the visitor squandered a penalty in the injury time (90+4 minute) to see East Bengal cruise home with a clean slate.
Nestor Albiach (NorthEast United FC) hit the bar with a left-footed shot from the spot after the referee awarded NEUFC the penalty when East Bengal defender Hijaji Saleh brought down substitute Phalguni Singh inside own box.
The result: East Bengal 5 (Borja Herrera 14, Cleiton Silva 24, 66, Nandhakumar Sekar 62, 81) beats NorthEast United FC 0
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