Monday, Apr 08, 2002
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Nigerian Omolaja Olalekan struck twice, while Dipendu Biswas scored from a spot kick for the winner after Parveen Kumar put the Punjab side ahead in the opening minutes of the match.
After exhibiting a lacklustre performance in the opening half, the home team improved its showing in the second session holding complete sway over the proceedings.
Punjab Police, on the other hand, matched its opponents early in the game, only to fade out as the match went on. Midway into the second half, East Bengal's domination was so complete that all of its defenders were constantly seen in the opponent territory.
East Bengal, which was placed seventh before the match, has now gone two rungs up the ladder ahead of Mahindra United and ITI, Bangalore, in the points tally.
The fancied city outfit has now accumulated 32 points from 20 exchanges, but Punjab Police continued to be the wooden spooners with only nine points from the same number of matches as East Bengal.
The visitor forged ahead in the third minute when Parveen Kumar found the mark after receiving a stray ball. The striker controlled well and calmly placed in with a grounder to the right of East Bengal custodian Sangram Mukherjee.
Stung by the reverse, East Bengal carried a series of raids into the opponent territory, but had to wait till the midway of first session when Nigerian Omolaja restored parity.
Soumitra Chakraborty despatched a pass from the left for Brazilian Jose Carlos inside the visitor's box and the latter released a short back pass to an onrushing Omolaja, whose rasping right footer banged into the net.
Not prepared to give up, the policemen attacked in the very next minute, but the woodwork stood in the way of a Manjit Singh shot.
Similar fate had befallen Omolaja early in the match when his power-packed right footer hit the near post, much to the dismay of East Bengal supporters. After the first half finished 1-1, Omolaja got the breakthrough in the 53rd minute of the game as he latched on to a Suley Musah pass, outwitted Rajesh Kumar and then pushed the ball into the net to score his seventh goal of this season.
East Bengal continued to mount pressure and the scoreline became 3-1 seconds before the final whistle. Punjab Police stopper Rajesh Kumar handled the ball inside his team's penalty box and Dipendu Biswas coolly placed home the resultant spot-kick.
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