Joshimar’s hat-trick takes Chirag to Durand semis

New Delhi: Joshimar De Silva Martin scored a hat-trick as Chirag United hammered a hapless Indian Air Force (IAF) 5-0 and set up a semifinal date with East Bengal in the 123rd Durand Cup, at the Ambedkar Stadium here on Tuesday.

The prolific poacher from Brazil struck his first goal in the 50th minute, followed that up with a solo strike in the 68th minute and completed his hat-trick when he scored off a rebound that resulted from a goal-keeping lapse nine minutes later.

Denson Devadas struck the opener, in the 37th minute, while Gouranga Biswas side-footed one for Chirag in between.

Needing to win by more than a two-goal margin to advance to the last-four stage, Chirag were slow off the blocks initially, with the likes of Mohammad Rafique, Coumen Chakraborty and Joshimar himself missing out on a few goal-scoring opportunities.

But once Devadas broke the deadlock with a powerful left-footer that crashed into the Chirag net, the complexion of the match changed dramatically.

Giving glimpses of what they are capable of, Chirag’s Jerry Zirsanga delivered a perfect cross to Joshimar and the Brazilian, after a keen tussle with IAF’s G S Sandhu, managed a faint touch before the ball went in to make it 2-0 in favour of the Kolkata outfit.

Joshimar was again in the thick of things when he cut through the IAF defence to score his second and the team’s third goal.

Joshimar could have added another to his kitty but his header off Sukhen Dey’s cross went over the bar.

There was no respite for IAF, however, as Gouranga Biswas side-footed Rafique’s centre to make it 4-0.

Joshimar completed the demolition job when he scored off a rebound after Bisht fumbled to collect Subhas Chakraboty’s powerfull volley.

By scoring thrice, Joshimar made amends for his missed penalty in the team’s goal-less draw against Pune F C.

While the show completely belonged to Chirag after the change of ends, the first session was a dull affair. The intent was to pump in as many goals as possible but Chirag somehow struggled to find the net.

Coumik’s back volley missed the target by whisker, while Joshimer and Rafique, too, had there chances to draw first blood.

Chirag coach Subrata Bhattacharjee made as many as five substitutions on Tuesday and all seemed to have worked, though,
Zirsanga’s replacement with Subhas surprised quite a few.

“All substitutions were perfect. I needed players who can hold the ball and Asif and Subhas are kind of players who can hold the ball,” a relieved Bhattacharjee said after the match.

“They played well but we need to play better to do well in the I-League,” the former East Bengal coach told reporters here.


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