Nathan Hall's side were embarrassed on Saturday evening in Goa by a resurgent Salgaocar...Salgaocar FC handed United Sikkim FC a footballing lesson at the Tilak Maidan in Goa, on Saturday, as they thrashed them 9-0 in a round 24 I-League clash.
Josimar scored a hat-trick while Francis Fernandes and Marcus Mascarenhas scored a brace each in the triumph, while Luciano Sobrosa scored a penalty. This result further dampens the Snow Lions' chance of saving themselves from relegation with just three games to go.
Gabriel Obatola returned to the starting line-up alongside Josimar after serving his suspension, while John Wilkinson was benched in favour of Luciano Sobrosa.
For the visitors, Spanish striker Pablo Rodriguez paired upfront with Nurudeen Salau, while Rakshit Kumar was picked ahead of Monotosh Ghosh in between the sticks.
The home side started on the offensive and could have taken a lead as early as in the second minute through Francis Fernandes, who instead of volleying the ball home chose to control it and thus allow Linekar Machado to effect a clearance, after Milagres Gonsalves did well to find him.
The India international was at fault again as he took the ball too wide before unleashing a feeble shot a few minutes later.
Luck didn't favour the visitors when Nurudeen Salau's free-kick deflected off the head of Josimar in Salgaocar's wall, and then came off the bar before Rodriguez headed the rebound above the target.
Salgaocar made the most of this and Josimar put his side ahead with a tap in from an Obatola pass which left the United Sikkim defence guessing in the 15th minute.
The very next minute saw Obatola's ambitious shot from distance slip out of the hands of goalkeeper Rakshit Kumar to make it 2-0.
Following the half hour mark, Linekar Machado was guilty of wasting too much time on the ball after doing well to get into a shooting position inside the Salgaocar box as Augustin Fernandes averted the danger.
Referee Vishnu Chauhan was left with no option, when Sandhesh Jhingan brought down Josimar inside the box, but to point to the spot. Skipper Luciano Sobrosa stepped up and converted after a lengthy discussion with Milagres and Obatola who wanted to take the spot-kick.
The half-time talk by Nathan Hall didn't seem to have any affect as things only got worse for them. Eight minutes into the second half and Francis Fernandes blasted the ball home after Josimar laid it on a platter for him from a Nicolau Colaco cross. Francis scored his second with a curling effort from outside the box with more than 30 minutes still to play.
At the hour mark, Sobrosa's shot saw Rakshit fail to bring the ball under control and an onrushing Josimar tapped in the rebound.
Salgaocar keeper Karanjit Singh did well to keep a clean sheet by pulling off a couple of saves off Salau and Nadong Bhutia.
Salgaocar substitute Marcus Mascarenhas meanwhile struck within a minute after coming on in place of Obatola in the 76th minute, and scored his second in the fourth minute of injury time when he headed in from a Gonsalves flag-kick.
Josimar (90+1') completed his hat-trick after he was put through on goal by Mascarenhas and he did the needful.
This win shall certainly boost the morale of David Booth's side after being one of the favourites for relegation having endured one of the worst starts in this season's I-League. United Sikkim will need to play out of their skins if they do hope to avoid the drop. What was worse about this defeat was that they had all their players on the field and there was no issue of being a man or two down.
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