Odafe hat-trick hands Mohun Bagan crucial win

January 15th, 2012 - 8:42 pm ICT by IANS  

Fatorda (Goa), Jan 15 (IANS) Mohun Bagan did well to snatch full points after going a goal down early in the game against Churchill Brothers in a 14th round I-League clash at the Nehru Stadium here Sunday.

Lalrindika Ralte gave Churchill the lead in the fifth minute in the crucial top of the table clash but a Odafe Okolie hat-trick, including a penalty, ensured the visitors walked away with a 3-2 victory.

In what was essentially a must-win clash for Churchill, the hosts started earnestly and were lucky to surge ahead early. Steven Dias, as usual, worked his way down the right flank and found Mohammad Rafi just outside the box. The striker sidestepped Anwar Ali, his marker, and then picked out Lalrindika Ralte inside the box to turn home with his right foot, even as the entire Mohun Bagan defence just stood motionless and watched.

Bagan took that setback in their stride and continued attacking with Odafe being a constant threat. Soon enough, Odafe sent a brilliant long ball from one end to the other where Jewel Raja controlled it well but was unlucky to hit the crossbar with his half volley.

Mohun Bagan were not to be denied a second time and equalised in the 19th minute when Syed Rahim Nabi’s measured cross was chested by Odafe and then drilled past rival goalkeeper Arindam Bhattacharya.

Odafe was again in the thick of action but was unlucky as his stunning long ranger hit the crossbar and rebounded back into play.

Odafe then turned the match on its head with two goals in as many minutes. In the 73rd minute, an innocuous shot from him saw the ball wobble past Arindam and a minute later he converted a penalty after Barreto was brought down in the box by Denzil Franco.

Substitute Henri Autchouet scored in the 81st minute to keep Churchill’s hopes alive but the Bagan defence did well to thwart the challenges for the remainder of the match.

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