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Goa in semis with big win

Former champions Goa signalled their title ambitions with a thumping 5-0 win over strugglers Maharashtra in their final quarterfinal league match of the 63rd National Championships for the Santosh Trophy on Sunday.

sports Updated: Jun 07, 2009 22:55 IST
Abhishek Hore

Former champions Goa signalled their title ambitions with a thumping 5-0 win over strugglers Maharashtra in their final quarterfinal league match of the 63rd National Championships for the Santosh Trophy on Sunday.

The stroll at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, coming on the back of Marcus Mascarenhas's hattrick and a brace by Beevan D'Mello, ensured Goa's qualification into the semifinals as table toppers.

For Maharashtra, the humiliation marked an end to their disastrous campaign that started with a solitary goal loss to Services.

Goa, who looked a trifle subdued in the last two matches, played a flawless game, never giving their hapless opponents any chance to create opportunities. Without taking anything away from the performance, things wouldn't have been as easy for the Goans against any other team, but the Steven Dias-led side was one of a kind. Or how would one explain the countless defensive errors Maharashtra committed, or for that matter, Amit Nandi's keeping and the lack of cohesion in the midfield. The strikers, too, struggled and failed to create space inside the box.

Goa did not have to do anything extraordinary, as Maharashtra's unimaginative game helped them to a large extent. Maharashtra were fortunate not to concede a goal in the first 20 minutes, but the demolition job started once D'Mello broke the deadlock. Unmarked, D'Mello headed in a Nicholas Rodrigues corner that swung in, but what surprised was Nandi and Anas Kuttymani's lack of effort to clear the ball.

D'Mello soon made it 2-0 when he rifled home after latching on to a long ball. Again, the Maharashtra defenders were nowhere to be seen. From thereon, the show belonged to Mascarenhas. If the Maharashtra central defenders aided the Goan in his first goal, a gaffe by Nandi helped Mascarenhas score his second.

Rattled by the steady onslaught, Maharashtra coach Arshad Hussain substituted the off-colour Nandi with Lihaz Koya, but he wasn't spared either. Koya seemed lost as a tap-in by Mascarenhas in the final minute completed the humiliation.