Vasco (Goa), March 1 (IANS) Salgaocar pulled off an upset as they stunned East Bengal 3-1 in an I-League game at the Tilak Maidan Stadium here on Tuesday.
Thongkhosiem Haokip (4th, 90+4 minutes) scored a brace and Calvin Mbarga (36th) netted the other for the hosts while Ranti Martins (24th) got on the scoresheet for East Bengal. The game also witnessed East Bengal’s Sehnaj Singh being red carded in the 78th minute.
With this win, Salgaocar moved up a rung in the points table. They are now eight in the nine-team league with eight points. East Bengal remain at the third spot with 17 points.
Haokip gave an early lead to the hosts before East Bengal could settle in. The midfielder got himself at the end of a Darryl Duffy cross from the right and smashed it past East Bengal goalkeeper Luis Barreto to give his side a 1-0 advantage.
At the 10 minute mark, however, Duffy had to be substituted with Jackichand Singh as the former picked up a groin strain.
Ranti Martins could have had the equaliser for East Bengal at the other end four minutes later, but his powerful attempt fizzed past the post.
The visitors were denied again as Eder cleared away a Bikash Jairu shot off the goal line. But East Bengal’s relentless pressure finally paid off as Martins found the back of the net capitalising on a defensive error.
It was rival defender Keenan Almeida who tried to head back the ball to his custodian but Martins manage to squeeze through in between them and tapped it in.
Without Duffy, the Salgaocar attack looked clueless, but suddenly Jackichand took on the East Bengal defence by bursting in through the middle. His pace was too much for Samad Ali Mallick to handle and he brought the medio down inside the box.
Cameroonian forward Calvin Mbarga stepped upto the spot and then blasted it past Barreto to restore his side’s one-goal advantage.
After the break, East Bengal were able to tie down their opponents for some time as their forwards tried knitting together a few quality attacks.
Haokip missed a sitter at the 64th minute and Jackichand’s follow up strike was kept out by Barretto. Barretto then pulled off another brilliant save to deny Brian Mascarenhas.
Moments later, Sehnaj was sent off for a rash tackle on Jackichand just outside the box.
Bernard Mendy had his chance to restore parity for his side in second half injury time but his crisp header was well kept out by Karanjit Singh.
With East Bengal pushing up front in desperation, Haokip took advantage and darted forward after collecting a Cavin Lobo miss pass. He had Jackichand on his right but then he decided to go for goal himself and managed to find the net with a piledriver.