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Nabi brace in East Bengal victory

November 15, 2008 23:09 IST

Dishing out their best performance so far, East Bengal stopped Sporting Clube de Goa's impressive run with a crushing 3-1 win to move within sniffing distance of the top of the table in the ONGC I-League.

A match that saw clinical finish by East Bengal strikers and a faultless effort from defenders opened up the league table.

After the seventh round encounter, East Bengal now have 12 points, six shy of leaders Sporting Clube de Goa.

This was the second loss for the Goan side, with the first (0-3) coming against last year's runners-up Churchill Brothers.

It was Man of the Match Syed Rahim Nabi who stood out with a brace while Sunil Chhetri drew first blood as Sporting Clube de Goa paled into comparison.

Right from the start, indications were clear that it was simply not the Goans' day at the floodlit Yuba Bharati Krirangan.

An eighth minute miss by Elijah Obagbemiro Junior, whose effort struck the woodwork, saw the leaders pay a heavy price in the end.

Stanley Rozario's boys needed that wake-up call as five minutes after the miss, East Bengal took the lead with a clinical Sunil header.

With goalkeeper Felix D'Souza out of line, the national striker cashed in on a Yusif Yakubu cross to head it home in the 13th minute.

Eleven minutes later, Yakubu and Sunil tried to capitalise on a Mehtab Hossain cross from the right. However, the Ghanaian striker failed to convert the cross and created a flutter among the Sporting Clube de Goa defenders.

An unmarked Nabi from the right was quick to spot on and slotted home from behind to give East Bengal a 2-0 lead in the 24th minute.

East Bengal took an unassailable 3-0 lead in the 30th minute.

From a Sunil through, Nabi deceived an advancing Felix and scored his brace.

The Goan side's defence appeared totally clueless as East Bengal ruled the roost in the first-half.

The defence, led by Nirmal Chhetri and Suley Musah, too was spot-on as pressure mounted on the Sporting Clube strikers Junior and Nathaniel Amos.

A regrouped Sporting Clube de Goa salvaged some pride in the second half with Harmanjot Singh Khabra doing the needful.

Junior's cross from the left was enough for Khabra to convert it in the 55th minute.

For East Bengal, this was their fourth win and coach Rozario said, "We needed a win desperately. It was a much needed boost. Things will only get better now."

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