Kolkata, Mar 01 (UNI) Jose Ramirez Barreto spelled magic at the floodlit Salt Lake Stadium with a hattrick to sink Mohammedan Sporting, while Mahindra United consolidated their position with a 2-0 drubbing over East Bengal in the IFA Shield here today.
In the third match played today Churchill Brothers and Dhaka Mohameddan Sporting played out a goalless draw.
Thus with four points Churchill are virtually through to the semi-finals, while the Mohun Bagan will be the fourth contender in the elite four.
Unless East Bengal defeat Santos with a better goal difference than Mahindra United, which is impossible from the looks of it, they are out along with Kolkata Mohameddan sporting.
Not all the spectators had occupied their seats when the floodgates opened with just 30 seconds of action.
Bagan defender Rauf Khan passed the ball to medio Ishfaq Ahmed who produced a perfect centre for the Brazilian whose right footer found the target as Sporting custodian Nasim Akhtar left stranded.
Barreto doubled the lead for Bagan in the 11th minute when his header found the net despite hitting the post off a James Singh corner headed towards the Brazilian by Douglas da Silva.
The formalities were completed after seven minutes as Barreto got his third goal after heading home James Singh's freekick.
Meanwhile, Sporting defenders looked like a bunch of helpless amateurs throughout the match.
Striker Mike Okoro appeared as the 'only footballer' in the black-and-white brigade.
Earlier in the day, East Bengal's dismal form continued as they were beaten 0-2 by Mahindra United.
Playing at Barasat, the traditional East Bengal bastion, the red-gold side showed flashes of briliance early in the first half before they were bulldozed into defending by the Mumbai outfit.
In a time between the 20 and 30 minutes of the match Mahindra laid siege of East Bengal defence and forced five corners in a row.
The goal came seven minutes later as Yusuf Yakubu pulled the two stoppers Majek Bolaji and Anupam Sarkar with him to flick the ball to Md Rafi.
All Rafi had to do was beat the red-gold keeper which he did with elan.
The second goal came after horrendous defensive lapse. Edward Menza and Yakubu played a few passes between them before sending the ball to the left for Rafi.
Rafi overlapped into the rival defence with Sur Kumar Singh no where in sight. Then he sent a measured centre that saw Yakubu volleying home into the upper right of the night (2-0).
East Bengal's backbone was broken.
To make the matters worse Bolaji who was injured was first substituted with Meherajuddin Wadoo. But the player was all at sea as a stopper and in the second half Edmilson was replaced by M.
Suresh to bolster the defence.
By then East Bengal was only planning to save further embrassasment and not score and win.
In another match played in Howrah Municipal Stadium, Dhaka Mohameddan Sporting and Churchill Brothers finished with a goalless draw.
Both sides played with safety first on their mind and the dull match finished without a bang.
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