Talismanic Nigerian Edeh Chidi scored a hat-trick and set up a couple more goals as East Bengal thrashed Yangon United of Myanmar 5-1 to enter the AFC Cup quarter-finals for the second time after 2004.
He struck in the 25th, 71st and 76th minute while Penn Orji (2nd) and captain Mehtab Hossain (48th) chipped in with a goal each much to the delight of the 10,000-odd spectators who gathered at the floodlit Salt Lake stadium.
Wednesday will be remembered as one of the most memorable days in Indian club football as the Kolkata giants entered the last eight stage of Asia’s Tier-II event.
The Trevor Morgan-coached side may have had a disappointing finish in the I-League, slipping to third, but the Scot ensured that the boys kept their impeccable record against international teams intact as Chidi set up Penn Orji for a second minute strike.
The Myanmar outfit's talismanic forward Adama Kone, who had a tally of nine goals, was brilliantly marked by the resolute East Bengal defence as Yangon United were reduced to a frustrated unit, only able to score a consolation goal through Cezar Augusto in the 78th minute.
Chidi attacked from the right flank before passing on to an unmarked Penn inside the box as the latter slotted it home for an easy lead.
He had another fine run in the 18th minute when he blasted from the edge of the box but his grounder missed the post by a whisker.
The visitors tried to play long balls with Kone up front, but the alert East Bengal thwarted the Ivory Coast forward's every attempt.
A minute after Lalrindika Ralte's shot was blocked by the Yangon United defence, Chidi put his name on the scoresheet after being set up by Andrew Barisic and Penn.
East Bengal began the second-half with the same precision and captain Hossain made it 3-0 with a superb shot that was brilliantly set up by none other than Chidi.
Naoba Singh then fed Chidi a quality ball near the penalty spot and the Nigerian brought up his second goal, giving East Bengal a commanding 4-0 lead midway into the second-half.
Continuing his fine run, Chidi brought up his hat-trick in style as he finished from a solitary effort that gave East Bengal a five-star lead in the action-packed second-half.
Just when Yangon United had all but given up, Augusto scored a consolation goal after getting a fine cross from the left flank.