Mumbai, Apr 16 (UNI) Table leaders East Bengal scored a fine come from behind win to maintain their top position beating Dempo Sports Club 3-1 in the 13th round of the ONGC National Football League tie at the Cooperage ground here today.
With this win the Kolkata giants also halted Dempo's three match winning streak moving to 27 points, while the Goan outfit remained on 19 points having played a match extra.
For all the brilliance of the East Bengal players, the Goans only have themselves to blame after their strikers missed three clear cut chances.
It was East Bengal, which were off the blocks first, and in just the fourth minute. Soumik Dey's shot was well blocked by a Dempo defender. Then in the 17th minute East Bengal, who received a throw in from the right side saw Ndem Herve's reverse kick go just wide.
The long throw was taken by Habibur Mondal.
East Bengal captain Baichung Bhutia then missed the casiest of all the chances when, in the 29th minute, he shot wide with the goal keeper on the ground. The cross was provided to him from the left by Syed Nabi.
Dempo who were at the receiving end so far, suddenly found their rhythm and in the 35th minute a superb volley by Jhonny D'Cruz following a corner, put the Goan side up 1-0.
Dempo then started to run circles around the East Bengal defence, who did not anticipate this setback, but after doing the hard work, they could not convert the moves into goals.
Three minutes after the goal, Dempo had a golden chance of going up 2-0 but their leading scorer Ranti Martins shot wide with an open goal in front of him and in the 40th minute a superb run by Roberta Silva saw him pass the ball to Ranti Martins whose return pass was just a wee bit long and another chance went abegging.
After the breather, East Bengal brought in Alvito D'Cunha in place of Malsawm Tluanga on the left flank, which transformed the side's forthnes.
East Bengal dominated the second half and did not give any chance to the Dempo players, who looked jaded and tired towards the end.
The Kolkata giants got their equaliser in 63rd minute through their captain Baichung Bhutia who scored a superb goal from a difficult angle from the right side of the penalty box to restore parity.
This spurred East Bengal and nine minutes later they took the lead when Syed Nabi found the back of the net following a cross by Alvito.
The leaders then sealed the match in their favour five minutes from the final whistle when substitute Dipankar Roy scored of a pass by Alvito.
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