Mohun Bagan beat Sporting Clube de Goa 3-1
Kolkata: Odafa Okolie struck a hat-trick to power Mohun Bagan to a 3-1 win over Sporting Clube de Goa in a fourth round I-League clash here on Sunday.
The Nigerian goal machine gave Mohun Bagan a 16th minute lead through a brilliant free-kick and doubled the lead in the 42nd minute to see Mohun Bagan go 2-0 up at interval.
After the changeover, Odafa stamped his class with a fine finishing to complete his hat-trick in the 56th minute that handed Mohun Bagan their second successive I-League win.
The Mohun Bagan defence caved in at the dying moments as Sporting Clube de Goa pulled one back through Joseph Pereira.
Mohun Bagan improved their tally to six points from four matches, while Sporting remained on four.
It was a welcome win for Mohun Bagan before coach Karim Bencherifa takes guard as they managed to build on their away win against Air India under interim coach Mridul Banerjee.
In absence of their Australian recruit Tolgay Ozbey, Mridul was forced to employ one striker in Odafa in a unique 4-5-1 formation.
But the green and maroon brigade kept attacking right from the start as they earned a free kick from a fine position with Odafa earning his first goal.
The Goans pressed for a equaliser with some counter attacks and looked to penetrate the fragile Mohun Bagan defence.
With no Arindam Bhattacharya under the bar, Shilton Paul came under intense pressure but Mohun Bagan managed to thwart Sporting`s moves.
But the day clearly belonged Odafa who got a fine chance in the 32nd minute that went over the bar.
The Nigerian did not have to wait much as he scored from a corner with a fine right footer to give Mohun Bagan a fine 2-0 cushion at the break.
Mohun Bagan showed fine co-ordianation in the midfield as Odafa`s compatriot Stanley Okoroigwe created chances.
With Odafa unstoppable, Mohun Bagan got their third when the Nigerian utilised Syed Rahim Nabi`s forward pass before finishing with a brilliant solitary effort.
Sporting coach Ekendra Singh said they were simply outplayed by a brilliant Odafa.
"We don`t have any excuse. We could not play our game as we lost to Odafa. We just could not stop Odafa. They have improved a lot from their Federation Cup outing," Singh said.
Mohun Bagan assistant coach Mridul Banerjee gave credit to his footballers and said, "Hope to build as a team."
Asked whether he was taking tips from Bencherifa, Mridul shot back: "I am not in touch with him. This is my style of play. But yes, he will be the chief coach and I`m here because of him."
Man-of-the-match Odafa too was excited about the new formation and said, "Previously, I was not getting supply so it`s easy for me now."