FC Goa had history on their side – before this game, they had scored 14 goals against the Delhi Dynamos, with seven of them coming at Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium itself. History, however, does not win a team matches, especially one which has struggled throughout the season. That Delhi haven’t lost a game at home and have scored 18 of their 26 goals here this season proves how dominant they have been.
On Sunday, at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Delhi were at their imperious best as they thrashed Goa 5-1 and inched closer towards making it to the semifinals. Delhi, who pumped in four goals in a nine-minute blitz, moved to second in the table with 20 points after 12 games, while Goa remained last with 11 points after 13 games.
Goa, though, had hope. The jittery defence of Delhi has often faltered at home they have conceded 9 goals and have just one clean sheet at home – and Sunday wasn’t very different. In the 31st minute, against the run of play, Goa forward Julio Cesar got hold of the ball, made his way towards the box, and even managed to get past defender Anas Edathodika and goalkeeper Soram Poirei. His shot, however, lacked power. But Poerei made a mess of it and allowed Goa defender Fulganco Cardozo to tap the ball in.
This was after Richard Gadze, Delhi’s star striker who returned to the squad after missing two matches due to injury, missed three juicy chances in a span of five minutes. Marcelo Pereira missed another one in the same period.
The solitary goal, though, was enough to rally the Delhi players and a barrage of attacks was what followed. Seven minutes later (38th), Delhi managed to equalize after Pratesh Shorodkar’s foul on Marcos Tebar earned Delhi a free kick. Skipper Florent Malouda passed the ball to Marcelo, who ran into the box and hammered the ball past goalkeeper Laxmikant Kattimani.
Macrelo, however, wasn’t done for the night. Just three minutes after the halftime, he produced a stunning 25-yard long ranger, leaving the keeper and the crowd speechless. From there on, the fun began. Marcelo’s pass found Gadze, who showed raw pace and power to score his team’s third in the 51st. Five minutes later, Marcelo completed his hat-trick, showcasing superb solo skills. Then, Gadze capitalized on Marcos Tebar’s long ball and finished the job with ease.
With eight goals, Marcelo is now the highest goal scorer in the tournament, while Gadze is placed second with five.