East Bengal consolidated their lead at the top of the table by sweeping aside Mumbai FC 2-0 in the sixth game of Hero I-League at the Barasat Stadium here last evening. Willis Plaza scored a quick-fire first-half brace as Trevor Morgan’s charges recorded their fifth win in as many games in style. Mumbai FC looked pale throughout the match as their rivals had little difficulty in extending their unbeaten record to six games.
The Kolkata giants now have 16 points from six outings while Mumbai plummeted to their fourth loss on the trot of the campaign. The Red-and-Gold team took just ten minutes to take the lead. Willis Plaza atoned for his raft of misses in the previous home-match with a goal after Rahul Bheke swept in a cross from the right with Plaza bringing down the ball with his chest and befuddling keeper Kunal Sawant and Chintarao Chandrashekhar to send the ball to the far post with his left foot.
It was a slick move that resulted in the goal as the hosts looked like a well-oiled machine from the word go. It took seven more minutes for the red and gold brigade to double their tally and Plaza was in the thick of things again. The Trinidad & Tobago international controlled the ball well, taking Shallum Pires for a ride and hammering home another beautiful left footer.
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The visitors were finding it hard to get the ball as East Bengal conjured a plethora of attacks. Mumbai were guilty of wasting chances also, with Farukh Chowdhary and then Pires getting into good areas in the attacking third but not showing the vim to outfox their rival defenders. In the hope of a reversal of fortunes, Mumbai coach Santosh Kashyap effected two substitutions in the first ten odd minutes of the second-half, bringing in Karan Sawhney and Victorino Fernandes with Allan Dias and Farukh Choudhary making way respectively.
For East Bengal, Romeo Fernandes came in place of Wedson Anselme. Victorino’s stay on the field was short-lived though as the former Sporting Clube de Goa wide midfielder collided with East Bengal fullback Narayan Das and seemed to have a concussion. Steven Dias replaced him moments later as he was stretchered off. The tempo of the game tapered off somewhat in the final quarter of the half with many changes and long balls being played. The only chink in East Bengal’s otherwise scratch-free armour was the needless booking of veteran Mehtab Hossain in added time.