Margao: Defending champions Salgaocar thrashed a 10-man East Bengal 4-0 in a 12th round I-League clash at the Nehru Stadium on Thursday.
The home side, who badly needed a win after a string of draws and losses, benefited as East Bengal was reduced to 10 men in the 16th minute after their influential midfielder and captain Mehtab Hossain was red-carded after receiving his second yellow card for a dangerous foul on Ryuji Sueoka.
Salgaocar, who started positively playing the ball on the flanks, kept the rival defence under pressure with overhead crosses and took the lead in the 23rd minute.
Defender Nicolas Colaco, playing his first match, sent a cross from the right into the box for Edeh Chidi, who back-headed it to Francis Fernandes. Francis controlled the ball and took a shot that found the net.
East Bengal looked better in the early part of the second half and were gearing up to carry the fight into the enemy camp but Sueoka struck in the 68th minute to dampen their spirits.
Defender Thounanjam D Singh, who moved up on the right, sent a long through pass to Sueoka, who sprinted down and on entering the box took a shot which keeper Sandip Nandy managed to block with his legs. However, Sueoka managed to put the ball into the empty net off the rebound.
Salgaocar made two changes midway in second half bringing in Marcus Mascarenhas and Elijah Junior Obagbemiro in place of Edeh Chidi and Ishfaq Ahmed. The move paid dividends as Obagbemiro found the net in the 85th minute off a back pass from Marcus Mascarenhas.
With four minutes left in the match, Salgaocar were also reduced to 10, but not before they had killed off the contest, when defender Biswajit Saha got his second yellow card for a foul on Tolgay Ozbay.
With a minute left in the match, Nicholas Colaco rounded the tally when his goalmouth cross from the right was headed in by East Bengal defender Nirmal Chettri to end the visitor`s misery.
The win was a welcome relief for Salgaocar who are now on 16 points from 12 matches to move to the sixth place. East Bengal remained on fourth place with 23 points.