Home > Sports > News > PTI > Report
Bhutia nets five in E. Bengal's big win
July 16, 2003 20:12 IST
Baichung Bhutia scored five consecutive times as East Bengal almost assured themselves a berth in the quarter-finals of ASEAN Club football championship with a 6-0 rout of Army Football Club of the Philippines in Jakarta on Tuesday.
After going down to Thai champions BEC Tero Sasana 0-1 in their opening Group D match, today's big win has virtually paved the way for a last eight berth for the Kolkata side with the top two teams from each group progressing to the quarter-finals.
East Bengal now top Group D with three points with a goal difference of plus five. In the last group match, the Thai side will clash with Army FC on Friday.
It was all one way traffic after the two teams got a feel of the turf with Bhutia fine tuning his shooting skills for the tougher matches ahead.
He struck in the 23rd and 24th minutes as East Bengal led 2-0 at the break. Changing ends, Bhutia completed his hat-trick in the 49th minute before slamming two more in the 51st and 60th minute as the Filipinos trailed 0-5.
Bhutia missed a double hat-trick when he failed to connect a header in the 70th minute and an onrushing Mahesh Gawli fixed it with a powerful strike making it a rare half dozen.
The Kolkata club brought in M Suresh in place of Sashti Duley and Malswamtulunga, who excelled after coming in as a substitute against the Thai side on Monday, for Bijen Singh.
After a slow start, Bhutia tried a long ranger from the edge of the box in the 7th minute but the ball went sailing over the bar.
The first goal came in the 23rd minute after a rival defender committed a hand-ball inside the penalty box, trying to save a shot from Alvito D'Cunha. Indonesian referee N Jimmy quickly pointed to the spot and Bhutia gleefully deposited the ball in the left corner of the net sending 'keeper Edward in the opposite direction.
The next minute Bhutia exposed the chinks in the rival defence tapping in a corner kick to make it 2-0. None of the four players in the Army club's defence succeeded in clearing the ball which rolled to the opportunistic striker who made no mistake with his right footer.
In between D'Cunha missed a golden chance to score with just the 'keeper to beat.
Changing ends, East Bengal restarted the proceedings with a flourish and Bhutia completed his hat-trick with a fine long ranger that caught Edward static in his spot.
Soon it was 5-0 with an unmarked Bhutia placing the ball between two bewildered defenders after skipper Suley Musah's shot was not properly cleared.
By now the former English second division player stopped celebrating his goals, probably acknowledging the inferior quality of the opposition.