Biswas' hatrick spells victory for Bagan

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> Ashim Biswas struck a brilliant hatrick to lead Mohun Bagan to a convincing 3-0 victory against minnows Indian Bank.

Updated: February 25, 2007 09:48 IST
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Ashim Biswas struck a brilliant hatrick to lead Mohun Bagan to a convincing 3-0 victory against minnows Indian Bank in a National Football League match here today. Biswas, who topped the scorers list among Indians in the last edition of NFL, opened the account in the sixth minute before increasing the scoreline in the 18th and 62nd minutes of the one-sided match played at the Salt Lake Stadium. With this win, the three-time NFL champions increased their tally to seven points from four outings to bag the second slot behind Vasco SC. Indian Bank remained at the bottom of the table drawing a blank from all the four matches. Bagan's Biswas, having additional responsibility in the absence of Jose Barreto, had almost scored in the fifth minute but his header off Renedy Singh corner was saved from the goalline by Amjad Hussain. Barely a minute later, another Renedy corner from the right was collected by Leorando for Biswas, who netted home with a snap right footer past rival custodian Felix Edward. The youngster, playing his first season for Bagan, scored the second goal in a similar fashion as he stooped low to head home a Renedy corner after medio Mehtab Hussain foxed the crowded rival defence through a false effort. The last goal, however, was more of a gift from the rival goalie as Biswas' weak grounder off Eduardo pass slipped through the hands of a diving Felix. The Bankmen, who never recovered from the early assault, unleashed a few goal-bound attempts, but Bagan goalie Prosanto Dora did a splendid job to keep any danger at bay. Biswas' hatrick came as a bonus for Bagan coach Aloke Mukherjee, who would have been content with just a win in view of the growing resentment among his wards over payment uncertainty and other disturbing off-the-field developments. Also, causing worry to the coach was the absence of Barreto, who had picked up two yellow in last two matches, and injury to some first benchers. The Indian Bank, who were desperate for a point from the away match after their losses against JCT, Churchill Brothers and Dempo, fell short of the initiative after the early jolt. Veteran striker Syed Sabir Pasha unleashed a sharp right footer in the early session and flicked well on the run following a cross from Amjad in the 76th minute but to no avail. Medio Sonal Rawat's spectacular curling free-kick from just outside the box was saved by Dora for a corner in the 68th minute. Bagan also had their share of missed chances. New Brazilian recruit Eduardo squandered an opportunity as he shot over the bar from close with Felix at his mercy in the 70th minute. Mehtab, who paired up with defender Babun Kar to carry out frequent raids down the right, shot straight to Felix after racing into the box past three rival defenders in the 58th minute. Biswas also let go an easy chance as he failed to connect well a Leorando centre and shot wide. Leonardo, who was put in the middle in the absence of Barreto, had a nice outing and played the role of an anchor well. (PTI)

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