I-League: East Bengal thump Minerva 5-0 to go top

Ludhiana, Jan 29 (IANS) Kolkata football giants East Bengal thrashed minnows Minerva Punjab FC 5-0 in their I-League match at the Guru Nanak Stadium in Ludhiana here on Sunday.

Haitian striker Wedson Anselme scored a hat-trick to be the star man.

He put East Bengal in front in the 9th minute and Willis Plaza added a second in the 40th minute as the Kolkata club went into half-time 2-0 up.

Wedson netted his second goal through a penalty in the 64th minute and India striker Robin Singh made it 4-0 for East Bengal one minute later.

Wedson ended on a high, getting his hat-trick two minutes later via a pass from Plaza.

This is East Bengal’s fourth straight win and puts them level on 13 points with city rivals Mohun Bagan. But they have a superior goal difference (9) than Mohun Bagan (8) that enables them to take pole position.

Both East Bengal and Mohun Bagan are currently the only two undefeated teams in the league.

Minerva stayed at the bottom with only a point from five matches.

East Bengal coach Trevor James Morgan made just the one change from the team that defeated Bengaluru FC 2-1 recently.

Robin Singh started up front alongside Willis Plaza in place of Amirov. Surinder Singh decided to start with Ivan Filatov and Manandeep Singh up front while Anirudh Thapa and Victor Amobi were deployed on the wings.

Wedson headed it home in the ninth minute to put the away team in the driving seat and there were no looking back from there for them.

The Kolkatan outfit then doubled the lead in the 40th minute when Robin Singh played an overlapping Bheke clear on the right wing. Bheke’s cross into the box was finished off by a waiting Willis Plaza with the Minervan defence looking bemused.

There was no fightback from Surinder Singh’s side in the second half as East Bengal went on to romp past their hapless opponents.