Odafe’s Ha trick saves relegation of Sporting

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Sporting Clube de Goa: 4

Pune FC: 0

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Margao: Odafe Okalie scored a ha trick to guide Sporting Clube de Goa to a comprehensive 4-0 win over Pune FC and save relegation in the final round of the I-League, played at Nehru Stadium, Fatorda, here on Saturday.

Sporting Clube de Goa, who were in the relegation from the start, came strongly in the latter part of the second leg after recruiting Odafe Okalie — on loan from Churchill Brothers — and Brandon Fernandes.

Sporting scored through Odafe Okolie (27th, 68th and 92+2) and Sandesh Jhingan(41st) to earn themselves the top-flight status for another year.

At the end of the league, Sporting Clube de Goa from today’s win finished eight with 23 points from 20 matches, while Pune FC remained on fifth place with 29 points.

Sporting Clube de Goa, who needed a win to save relegation, started positively as they held the domination in the first half and created two early chances but first Odafe failed to get past keeper Amrinder Singh with an open goal infront of him as he drove the ball straight at the keeper who blocked the shot.

Few minutes latter, Creson Antao had a glourious chance to forge ahead but he mis-directed his shot wide off the target.

Medio Pratesh Shirodkar and Brendon Fernandes combined well in the midfield and linked up well with strikers Odafe Okolie and Mahmoud Al Amna as they piled on the pressure on the rival defence with repeated forays. They found the net in the 28th minute from a penalty.

A move from the right saw Pune FC defender Salam Ranjan Singh bringing down Alber Gonsalves inside the Box and referee A Rowan awarded a penalty for Sporting and Odafe, who took it made no mistake beating keeper Amrinder Singh to his right.

Brendon combined with Mahmoud Al Amna well on the right and beat the rival defense on a couple of occasions with a one-to-one move but first Amna failed to get past keeper as he drove the ball straight at him and latter Brendon Shot was cleared by defender Luciano Sobrosa.

After these close shaves, Sporting increased the lead in the 41st minute when defender Sadesh Jhingan’s shot hit the post before going into the net off a free kick taken by Fernandes as Sporting entered the half-time with a 2-0 lead.

The visitors who were pushed on the back foot in the first half had a chance to score but Haokip feeble shot off Arata’s free kick went straight into the hands of keeper Ravi Kumar.

Pune FC made a change in the second half, bringing in Nikhil Kadam in place of Drako Nikac. But before they could get hold of the proceedings, Odafe scored again to take the match away from the visitors.

Mahmoud Al Amna, who after receiving the ball on the top of the box, laid a pass to Odafe who took rival defender in his stride and after getting past diving keeper Amrinder Singh shot the ball into the empty net in the 67th minute.

Odafe then scored his hatrick when he ran solo into the box and beat a defender and keeper before sloting the ball into the net to score his eighth goal and pull Sporting Clube de Goa out from relegation.

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