Bengaluru: Bengaluru FC took a giant step towards bringing back the I-League title home when they outclassed East Bengal 3-1 at the Kanteerava Stadium here on Sunday.
Eugeneson Lyngdoh, Kim Song-Yong and Malsawmzuala’s first goal for the club completed the clinical display for the hosts after Do Dong-Hyun gave the Kolkata side the lead.
The win takes Bengaluru FC to 29 points from 14 games, needing them to beat Salgaocar at home next Sunday if they are to be crowned champions.
Kim should have opened the scoring in as early as the 7th minute when, after getting rid of Bernard Mendy in the box, the striker opened his body to place the ball beyond Rehenesh only to see his take roll wide.
But for all the domination by Bengaluru, it was East Bengal who took the lead, making the most of some lazy defending by the Blues.
Malsawmzuala failed to control a simple pass in his own half and Do Dong-Hyun pounced on the loose ball, ran with it before finishing calmly past Amrinder Singh to make it 1-0.
It took the Blues just two minutes to turn up with a reply when Lyngdoh timed his dive perfectly to connect with Kim’s cross and send it home.
Kim was then denied spectacularly by Rehenesh a few minutes later when the East Bengal keeper dived full stretch to keep the North Korean’s header out.
Both teams went into the break with a goal apiece. It was only the Blues though who came out firing on all cylinders after the restart. Ashley Westwood’s team-talk seemed to have done wonders as a spell of sustained pressure from the Blues saw them lay siege to the East Bengal goal.
In the 64th minute, a quick breakaway saw the ball passed to Lyngdoh on the left flank.
The midfielder took one touch and sent in a floater where a leaping Kim Song Yong put the final touches, sending the ball into the corner of the net with a hapless Rehenesh rooted to his spot.
Six minutes later, the game was put to bed. A Chhetri shot was blocked in the East Bengal penalty box but Michael Collins did well to retrieve the ball on the edge and tee up Malsawmzuala.
The 18-year-old put his boot through it from 30 yards and managed to keep the shot on target. The ball seemed headed straight to Rehenesh but the East Bengal custodian elected to palm it over his cross-bar but only managed a weak effort which saw the ball ruffle the roof of the net.
The third goal seemed to have sucked the fight out of the Kolkata-side as they huffed and puffed in search of a way back but the Blues defence held resolute to see the side through to an important victory.