Ranti Martins scores hat-trick

By I-League Media

KOLKATA: Kingfisher East Bengal secured a 4-0 win against Shillong Lajong with a hat-trick from their Nigerian goal machine, Ranti Martins (18′, 26′, 37′) and Bikash Jairu adding the icing on the cake in the 52nd minute.

Biswajit Bhattacharya benched Do Dong-Hyun for Sanju Pradhan while Mohammed Rafique returned to the team in the place of CS Sabeeth. Bernard Mendy started his second match on the trot partnering Mehtab Hossein in central midfield.

Thangboi Singto fielded Uilliams Souza and Fabio Pena up front with former Kingfisher East Bengal man Penn Orji running the show in the middle of the park.

It was the North-Eastern side who started the game in full flow as Uilliams and Fabio Pena broke through early on, in a flurry of attacks. A glorious opportunity was handed to Bipin Singh who found himself in the no man’s land with only the goalkeeper to beat but his head landed wide.

However, Ranti Martins lived up to his goal poacher tag in the 17th minute when he got on the end of a Sanju Pradhan low cross from the right. The move was initiated by Mehtab from midfield and it was wonderfully caressed into goal past a helpless Kaith by the Nigerian’s left-foot.

About ten minutes later, Mehtab turned to be the provider again as he picked out Ranti quite a few yards out of the goal. The former Dempo man controlled the ball expertly before smashing it with full power, giving Kaith no chance from about 25 yards out.

It turned into the eponymous Ranti show in the 37th minute when he scored the first hat-trick of the Hero I-League 2015-16 to virtually seal the game for the Red and Golds. Starting the move himself from outside the box, he exchanged a one-two with Rafique, with the midfielder finding the Nigerian with a chip in the box which had Kaith beaten all ends out. A last-minute diving tackle by Samuel Shadap failed to rescue the situation and Ranti could reclaim his footing to tap it into the open net.

Just as the second half started, Penn Orji had a glorious double chance to get Shillong a footing into the match but failed to get past Bello Rasaq on both occasions, finding his shot inches away from goal.

Jairu made it two in two matches in the 52nd minute after latching on to Rafique’s delivery on the left. Kaith failed to get onto Jairu’s cross into the far post which somehow sneaked it’s way into thegoal, for Kingfisher East Bengal’s fourth of the night.

Lajong’s Japanese defender, Yamagata took it upon himself to score a consolation goal in the 75th minute but his volleyed effort sailed over the bar.

Thangboi Singto was given another jolt when a rash tackle in the 82nd minute by Konsham Singh on Bernard Mendy saw him earning his second yellow and the marching order, adding more woes to the nervy Lajong defense.

Kingfisher East Bengal played the ball around the park in the later part of the game to secure an emphatic 4-0 win against Shillong Lajong FC which saw them capture the top spot on the table and they will continue to be atop unless Bengaluru FC register a win against DSK Shivajians tomorrow.

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