George D’Souza played an influential role in the Flaming Orange’s commanding victory.
Sporting Goa-Signals was a key match for both teams. In the event, Sporting Clube de Goa secured an overpowering 7-0 win over Corps of Signals in the Goa Pro League match played at Duler Stadium.
Nigerian striker Philip Odugwu scored a hat-trick, while George D’Souza scored a brace for Sporting Goa. Stendly Fernandes and Marcus Mascarenhas scored the other goals for the Flaming Orange.
Sporting made five changes to their side which was held to a goalless draw by Vasco SC in their last match. Coach Francisco Vaz gave starts to Clive Miranda, Marcus Mascarenhas, Philip Odugwu, Assumption Soares and keeper Akshat Hadkonkar. Whereas, Signals coach Eban Mes fielded the same XI, which was edged 3-2 by Velsao SCC in their previous encounter.
Sporting took just five minutes to surge ahead. Marcus nicely flicked the ball over onrushing Signals keeper Binu Purushothaman, which was easily tapped in by the well-positioned Philip into an empty net to make it 1-0 to the Flaming Orange.
Corps of Signals had the chance to equalize in the 12th minute. Midfielder Solomon Khongsai sent a corner into the box which was parried away by Sporting Goa keeper Akshat. The ball rolled to Nokul Singh, but the lad saw his strike miss the target by a few inches.
The former champions doubled their lead in the 24th minute. A fine cross from Assumption was brilliantly headed in by Philip to make it 2-0 for Sporting.
Sporting further extended their lead in the 43rd minute. Defender George D’Souza was brought down just outside the box by Amit Tariyal to give away a free-kick in a dangerous area. George nicely curled the ball into the net from 25 yards to put his side in the driver’s seat at half-time.
Just four minutes into the second half, Sporting were awarded another free-kick in a danger area. But, this time, Binu somehow managed to deny George’s powerful strike. Subsequently, his teammate Marcus tried to find the net from the loose ball, but the forward was ruled offside.
However, in the 53rd minute, Philip scored the fourth for Sporting and also completed his hat-trick. He smartly headed in Girish Naik’s well-taken corner to make it 4-0 for the Flaming Orange.
At the other end, Signals had a chance to reduce the margin. Midfielder Nim Bhutia was in a commanding position in the box, but Sporting’s young custodian Akshat came off his line to thwart his effort.
The Flaming Orange added another to their tally. U-20 forward Stendly Fernandes’ curling free-kick from the edge of the box brushed Signals keeper Binu’s gloves, before settling in goal to make it 5-0.
Sporting coach Vaz brought in Harshad Naik replacing hat-trick hero Philip after the hour mark. The midfielder proved his calibre, as he brilliantly dribbled past three opponents on the run and released the ball to a well-positioned George in the box. He blasted it into the goal from close range to add a sixth for his team.
A few minutes later, Harshad himself had a great opportunity to register his name on the scoresheet. He was setup by Girish in the box with just the keeper to beat, but Signals custodian Binu came off his line to deny him.
At the other end, Corps of Signals produced a swift attack of their own. Nokul Singh went for glory from distance, but his on-target strike was nicely fisted over the crossbar by Sporting Goa’s young custodian Akshat.
In the dying minutes of the match, substitute midfielder Harshad came up with another assist. This time he sent a low cross to Marcus, who made a simple tap-in to hammer the last nail in Signals’ coffin.