Kingfisher East Bengal consolidated their lead at the top of the table by getting past Mumbai FC 2-0 in the sixth game of Hero I-League at the Barasat Stadium on Wednesday.
Willis Plaza scored a quickfire first-half brace as East Bengal recorded their fifth win in as many games. Mumbai FC looked pale in the first half of 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.
With six changes to his side, including an enforced one in lieu of keeper Laxmikant Kattimania��s suspension, Santosh Kashyap elected to go in with a 5-3-2A�formation. Farukh Chowdhary and Thoi Singh were deployed upfront.
Surprisingly, it was Mumbai who had the first sniff on goal. Farukh got a ball from Densill and his run into the box was thwarted by TP Rehenesh who caughtA�his weak shot with ease.
The home sideA�took just ten minutes to take the lead. Willis Plaza scored 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.
Seven minutes later, Plaza doubled the lead for the home side. It was a similar goal toA�the first except the fact that it was sent long in by Lalrindika Ralte from the left. Plaza did well to collect the ball and then allowed hisA�left foot to doA�the magic again as the ball ruffled the roof of the net.
The visitors were finding it hard to get the ball as East Bengal conjured a plethora of attacks. Mumbai FC 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.
Spirited Showing from Mumbai in Second Half
In the hope of a reversal of fortunes, Mumbai coach Santosh Kashyap affected 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.
Victorinoa��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.
Mumbai looked an improved side in the second half but were wasteful with the chances they created.
Robin Singh squandered a guilt-etched opportunity in the 75th minute as he stood stationary inside the box without moving a muscle as Rahul Bheke whipped in a pin-point cross from the right.
The visitors had another sniff at goal but the linesman was not convinced whetherA�Shilton Da��Silvaa��s header from Steven Diasa�� set-piece crossed the goalline. Rehenesh managed to parry the ball away but the Mumbai players argued that the ball had crossed the goalline.
Mehtab Hossain picked up a customary booking for a silly loss of composure which was his fourth yellow of the league, meaning he will be ruled out of East Bengala��s next match against Chennai City FC at home.
Trevor Morgana��s side have opened up a three point gap at the top with Aizawl trailing them in second position. Mumbai FCa��s fourth loss on the trot seesA�them remain in the sixth position with six points from as many games.
In Gameweek 7, Mumbai FC travel to Punjab to take on Minerva Punjab meanwhile East Bengal host Chennai City FC at home.