Bengaluru, April 26: Ozone FC Bengaluru took a giant stride toward qualifying for the final round of the I-League second division with a dominating 7-0 victory over Madhya Bharat Sports Club at the Bangalore Football Stadium on Thursday (April 26). A hat-trick by Robert de Souza, brace by CS Sabeeth and goal apiece by Yongchan Son and substitute Akshay Kumar gave Ozone their biggest win in history.
The win also propelled them to the second spot on the Group B table with 14 points in six games, two less than leaders FC Kerala who have played a game more. A virtual knockout game is on the cards on April 30 when the two lock horns for the spot on top of the table. On Thursday too, Kerala beat Kerala Blasters 5-1 to boost their confidence ahead of the Ozone match.
Ozone dominated the proceedings throughout like their 4-0 win over the same team in the reverse fixture in Bhopal. Coach David Booth revealed he asked his boys to chip the ball over the defenders and target through balls instead of attacking from the flanks. "When we played against them earlier, we noticed that they were fluid at the back, and that's why I asked them to chip them over the short central defenders and go for the attack. It worked but it won't be like that against Kerala in the next match," he said after the game.
After Madhya Bharat goalkeeper Sanju Thapa saved Sabeeth's header from point-blank range in the third minute of the game, it all went downhill for him. Sanju let it slip at the near post and often was out of place on the day. If not for a few missed chances, he would have conceded more goals.
The defensive blunders committed by his teammates too didn't help. In the 28th minute, Robert chipped the ball into the far post after pouncing on a bad pass by Madhya Bharat's Seiboi Haokip. Six minutes later, Son combined well with Robert at the centre of the box, who took a deft touch to the left break free from his defenders on his back and unleashed a well-directed shot into the bottom right corner.
Son manned the midfield well and was too good for his Madhya Bharat opponents. Two minutes into the second half, left winger Vignesh D played him through to the left endline and the South Korean sprinted across to beat Sanju at the near post.
We claim a comfortable 5-1 victory over @KeralaBlasters (Reserves) at Sports Academy Ground, Panampilly Nagar— FC Kerala (@FCKERALA2014) April 26, 2018
Goalscorers: FCK - Jithin MS (18'), Sreyas VG (36', 49', 56') Haris EK (90')
KBFC (Reserves) - Shaiborlang Kharpan (70') #2ndDivLeague pic.twitter.com/PTxUQSrmMN
Robert secured his hat-trick four minutes later and it was Gobin Kino of Madhya Bharat who left him unmarked to power into the centre of the box and play across to the far right post, taking a touch off Sanju before rolling in. Robert was subsequently replaced by Akshay to give him some rest before the FC Kerala game.
Sabeeth was then inspired to carry on the goalscoring against the younger opponents. Vignesh set him a tap-in in the 68th minute after barging in from the left flank with his pace. Sabeeth turned provider for Akshay five minutes later. He controlled a long ball by Son, side-stepped Sanju, who was out of place, and although he did not offer the best assists, Akshay tucked it into the bottom-left corner from the right post. Akshay returned the favour to Sabeeth six minutes before time to complete the rout.
Ozone FC 7 (Robert de Souza 28, 36, 51, Yongchan Son 47, CS Sabeeth 68, 84, Akshay Kumar Dosapati 73) bt Madhya Bharat Sports Club 0
Kerala Blasters 1 (Shaiborlang Kharpan 70) lost to FC Kerala 5 (Jithin MS 18, Sreyas VG 39, 49, 56, Haris EK 90)