A hat-trick by Brazilian striker Eduardo DeSilva powered JCT Phagwara to a 3-1 victory over East Bengal in the I-league football championship in Kolkata on Friday night.
Eduwardo scored in the 43rd, 67th and 82nd minutes while East Bengal struck in the 50th through Edmilson, also a Brazilian.
Only four days ago, JCT had beaten another strong contenders and former champions Mohun Bagan 2-1 in their first outing in the league.
East Bengal made some moves early in the first half but the Punjab outfit wrested the initiative and took the lead two minutes before the half-time.
Following a free-kick, JCT livewire in the midfield Marcos Pereira sent the ball into the rival box and Eduardo placed it home neatly (1-0).
But the lead was shortlived, as East Bengal went all out and drew level through a penalty, awarded when striker Edmilson was roughly tackled by Jaspal Singh inside the box. Edmilson made no mistake from the spot(1-1).
JCT again made a series of moves with Pereira and Eduardo moving in tandem. They snatched the lead again in the 67th minute when an unmarked Eduardo headed home a flag-kick taken by Pereira (2-1).
The Punjab team made sure of victory when Eduardo completed his hat-trick eight minutes before the long whistle. This time striker Sunil Chhetri dribbled past two defenders and passed the ball to an advancing Eduardo, who scored with a rasping right-footer.
JCT now lead the table with six points from two outings while East Bengal have three after an equal number of matches.