FC Goa overran Mumbai City FC 7-0 on Tuesday to register the biggest margin of victory over two seasons of the Indian Super League.
On a landmark day when two hat-tricks were scored — another first in the league — 22-year-old Manipur footballer Thongkhosiem Haokip and Nigerian Dudu Omagbemi were the stars, hammering one goal after another to complete Mumbai’s humiliation.
It was a day when two players standing poles apart on the footballing firmament — Haokip has just begun his career, playing for Pune FC in the I-League, while Dudu has adorned the jerseys of Sporting Goa, Dempo, Salgaocar, East Bengal and Mohun Bagan — displayed their flair in front of their head coach, the legendary Zico.
The former Brazilian great’s lessons in attack were followed to the hilt by the duo who rarely made a mistake upfront. “We studied the opponents to understand how we could play them better. We studied their (Mumbai FC) videos and then instructed the forwards how to go about their task,” Zico said after the match.
The first goal came from open play after Haokip played a through ball to Dudu. Mumbai City keeper Subrata Pal rushed out to smother Dudu but the resulting collision with the striker left the ball at Haokip’s mercy who shot into an empty goal.
The second goal came less than 10 minutes later with Leo Moura breaking away in the midfield and sliding in a through ball to Dudu. With his back to the goal, the Nigerian controlled the ball with his first touch, steadied himself with the second and pushed it into the net with the third.
Mumbai City made a change at half time, bringing Sampathkumar Kuttymani. This proved their undoing as Goa started to focus their attack on the wings. Jofre, on the left, put in a delicious cross to the far post where Haokip was waiting to score Goa’s third.
After allowing Mumbai the freedom to attack for a few minutes, Goa went on the hunt again. Their fourth and fifth came in quick succession as Jofre’s free-kick in the 64th minute fell kindly to Dudu to tap into the box. Moura then cut through three players on the right of the Mumbai City defence to lay the ball off for Dudu to complete his hat trick in the 67th minute.
Dudu was replaced by Reinaldo soon after but Goa were relentless in attack. Romeo Fernandes charged through from the right, going past four Mumbai players to send a thundering strike at goal. The shot was punched away by keeper Pal but fell to Haokip to tap in for his hat-trick.