Home > Sports > Football > NFL 2002-03 > Report
East Bengal are NFL champs
April 25, 2003 17:43 IST
Kolkata giants East Bengal are the National Football League champions.
They made sure of the crown after routing Goa's Vasco Sports Club 4-0 in a 21st round match in the seventh edition of the tournament, at the Salt Lake stadium, on Friday.
Needing only a draw to clinch the title, they swelled their points tally to 49, which gave them an assailable lead in the 12-team double-leg tournament.
Two goals by Brazilian striker Douglas D'Silva and one each by S Malswamtluanga and Mike Okoro flattened the Goa side, who needed a victory in this match to stay in contention for the title.
East Bengal had earlier won the title in the 2000-01 season.
Vasco, with 40 points, will have to battle it out with their Goa mates Salgaocar [41 points from 21 matches] for a second or third place finish.
Brazilian ace De Silva was East Bengal's man of the match. He brought the sizeable crowd into raptures, netting a classic goal in the first-half, and added another soon after the breather, before substitute S Malswamtluanga put the issue beyond the Goans with an opportunistic strike.
Nigerian striker Okoro then piled on the misery for the Goans by scoring the fourth goal in the dying minutes of the fast-paced match.
What was expected to be a close match between the league leaders and their sole challengers, turned into a one-sided affair after the breather, when East Bengal literally toyed with their opponents, carrying out waves of attacks.
Vasco, who began well, looked completely lost in the second-half, as speedy teenager Malswamtluanga played havoc with the Goan defence, creating one chance after another with nippy runs from the right flank.
Vasco seized midfield control early in the match, but their much-vaunted strike-force failed to deliver, with the lethal Marcos Pereira being policed to submission by East Bengal's Suley Musah.
The home side attacked from the right, as right back Surya Bikash Chakraborty did a good job, launching into constant overlaps to feed the strikers.
In the 12th minute, Chakraborty moved into the box and centred, but Franky Barreto cut it off by putting the ball out for a corner.
Alvito D'Cunha's flag kick from the right travelled to Douglas off Venkatesh, and the Brazilian flung himself in the air and let go a snap reverse-volley, which zoomed into the goal, giving no chance to goalkeeper Rogerio Ramos.
A delirious Douglas took off his shirt and waved to join in the celebrations, but Thai referee Panya Hanlumyaunt was not amused and flashed the yellow card at the Brazilian.
Leading 1-0 at the breather, East Bengal consolidated their position in the second-half, as Douglas headed home a Chandan Das corner.
Malswamtluanga, who came in place of D'Cunha in the second-half, made the scoreline 3-0 in the 67th minute, when he latched on to an angular centre from Suryabikash Chakraborty and unleashed a powerful right-footer which found the net.
With the Vasco players giving up for all practical purposes and only going through the motions, Malswamtluanga once again schemed from the right and essayed a measured centre, which Okoro followed well and nodded home.
Complete Coverage: 7th National Football League 2002-03 | 2nd Division