KOLKATA: Striker Suhair V.P scored hat-trick on club debut as East Bengal thumped Rainbow Athletic Club 4-1 in the 2017/18 Calcutta Premier Division – A opener on Saturday at East Bengal Ground.

The Keralite bagged a first-half double before notching his third early in the second session. Meanwhile, Brandon Vanlalremdika added the fourth in the 73rd minute.

Rainbow AC, however, did not go down without a fight and pulled a goal back through Chattu Mandal in the 77th minute.

It was a deserving victory for the Red and Golds who outplayed their opponents by a mile.

Backed by the home fans, the Red and Golds started on a positive note and the partnership of Willis Plaza and Suhair kept the Rainbow AC back-line on their toes.

Rainbow AC were always seen as rank outsiders for this match but the Tarit Ghosh-coached side came close in the 7th minute when their Ivorian striker Yao Kouassi Bernard was narrowly off target with a low drive.

East Bengal continued to grow in strength as the half wore on and took a deserved lead in the 18th minute through Suhair. The striker received a long ball behind the back line and lifted it over a defender before slotting home from the left.

Rainbow AC remained on the back foot and two minutes before the break things went from bad to worse for them, when Suhair converted from Laldanmawia Ralte’s pass to give East Bengal a two goal cushion going into the half-time.

East Bengal continued their dominance after the restart, claiming a three-goal advantage seconds into the session through Suhair who powered his first-time shot past Rainbow AC goalkeeper Ankur Das to complete his hat-trick.

The Red and Golds survived the nominal attacks from Rainbow AC whose goalkeeper stood between them and more goals.

Three soon became four as fine work by Vanlalremdika put East Bengal in full control. The Mizo winger registered his name on the score sheet with a brilliant diagonal shot.

Meanwhile, for Rainbow AC the moment of joy finally came in the 77th minute when Chattu slot past Luis Barreto to make it 4-1.

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