World Cup Golden Ball winner Diego Forlan scored a hattrick, the first of the season, to power Mumbai City FC to top of the Indian Super League table with a 5-0 demolition of Kerala Blasters here on Saturday.
Riding on the triple strike from the Uruguayan legend, Diego Forlan, who combined with Brito Alves and Matias Frederico, Mumbai City FC outplayed Kerala Blasters to leapfrog Delhi Dynamos and occupy the top spot with 19 points from 12 games.
The massive defeat left the Blasters in fourth place with 15 points from 11 games.
The Uruguayan striker, also the skipper, scored in the 5th, 14th and 63rd minute to the delight of the home team supporters at the Mumbai Football Arena before going off the field.
The fourth goal, a left-footed effort from just outside the box from Alves, killed the game effectively as a contest with 22 minutes remaining before Romanian Lucian Goian headed a corner in to round off the tally in the 73rd minute and complete the Blasters’ humiliation.
Forlan was in top form from the beginning and brought the roof down with his brilliant twin strikes within the first 15 minutes to silence the large number of supporters of the ‘Yellow Brigade’ from the south.
The Uruguayan first latched on to a lob from Argentinian medio Frederico by running forward to reach the ball and beat rival keeper Graham Stack with an angular shot in the fifth minute.
The goal spurred the home side and especially Forlan on as he unleashed a pile driver from 35 yards out that needed a dive from the English custodian of Blasters who tipped it around the post for a corner.
Indian captain Sunil Chhetri nearly squeezed in a back heel of the flag kick from Forlan but was cheeky try was stopped in the nick of time by Slack.
Slack had no answer when Mumbai earned a direct free kick off which Forlan scored with an amazing 30-yard effort in the 14th minute, beating the defensive wall of the Blasters as well as the English custodian hands down to find the top corner.
The home side pitched the tent in the rival half for most of the opening half after a first minute long range effort by Didier Kadio of the Blasters. The Kerala side started to gain possession only towards the end of the first half that ended with Mumbai up 2-0.