Ghanaian striker Enock Cudjoe played an important role in the Oilmen’s victory with a brace.
ONGC FC stunned I-League side Gokulam Kerala as they registered a comfortable 4-1 win in the AWES Cup 2018 match played at Tilak Maidan, Vasco, earlier today.
Gokulam coach Santiago Varela named Argentine centre-back Fabricio Ortiz and Uzbek wing-back Eugeniy Kochnev, along with Justin George and Usman Shaikh in the starting XI. While ONGC had Ghanaian striker Enock Cudjoe and defender Ben Ankrah in the lineup.
Exactly opposite to the odds, ONGC started the match on an attacking note and took just 10 minutes to create their first chance, as Nitesh Monde tried his luck from the edge of the box but his powerful strike rebounded off the crossbar. A few minutes later, another powerful shot came from ONGC’s Siddharth Nayak, but this time the Gokulam custodian blocked it on time.
With their continuous attacks, the Oilmen finally opened their tally in the 23rd minute, when their Ghanaian striker Enock Cudjoe made a superb run on the wing and found Himanshu Patil in front of goal, who completed an easy tap-in to put his side ahead.
It was just two minutes from the first goal when ONGC stunned their opponents with the second, as this time, first goalscorer Himanshu sent a headed pass to Cudjoe, whose powerful volley entered the top right corner to make it 2-0 for the Mumbai-based PSU.
Peped up by two quick goals, the Oilmen scored the third just past the half hour mark, when their skipper F. Lalmuanpuia sent a long free-kick into the rivals’ box, where, in the process of trying to clear the danger, Gokulam’s Argentine defender Ortiz headed into his own goal to gift ONGC their third.
Down by three goals at halftime, Gokulam coach Varela brought on Brazilian Thiago Fernandes to replace Kochnev, while he also brought in Yamboi Moirang to replace Gani Ahammed in midfield.
With the Brazilian playmaker coming in, Gokulam were the more attacking side from the start of the second half and finally, they reduced the margin within three minutes after the break. Thiago made no mistake to beat the ONGC keeper from the spot, after ONGC defender Prathamesh Kasare brought down Mohammed Rashid in the box to give away a spot-kick.
A few minutes later, Gokulam’s Suhair VP missed a chance to get onto the scoresheet, when he was nicely fed by Usman with a fine through-ball, but the midfielder shot went just over the crossbar.
The Oilmen further inflated their lead in added-time, when Ortiz made another mistake at the back. Taking advantage of the same, Cudjoe tried his luck from distance and his effort left Gokulam’s out-of-position custodian with no chance and finished in the net to make it 4-1 for the Mumbai-based side.
“Though we have defeated the I-League side, it’s not like we are a great team. It is just pre-season for them and they are preparing for the league, but I must admit that my boys played really well today. It was a great match today,” ONGC coach Caetano Pinho expressed his feelings after an easy win over the Kerala side.