THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Nigerian import Onebi struck a hat-trick as Josco FC blanked BEML, Bangalore 4-0 in a pool ‘B’ quarterfinal league match of the G.V. Raja memorial all-India football tournament at the University stadium on Monday.
The rampaging striker was on target in the 10th, 22nd and 26th minutes and in between T.S. Satheesh scored in the 14th minute as Josco led 4-0 at half-time.
Josco rode roughshod over its rival in the first half. The BEML defence was made to look silly as Josco pierced it with ridiculous ease from the left flank.
Onebi’s pace, anticipation and skills were too much for the BEML defenders as the striker struck thrice in a span of 16 minutes to complete his hat-trick.
Onebi stabbed home from close in the 10th in a goalmouth melee after a precise cross from the right had created confusion in the BEML defence.
A fine move by Stephen Lijo on the right wing culminated in Satheesh finding the target from close in the 14th minute. Fellow Nigerian Mathew fed Onebi with a through pass from the middle.
The striker easily shrugged off his marker and flicked the ball past the on-rushing goalkeeper for the third goal in the 22nd minute. Onebi completed his hat-trick with a solo effort from the right wing in the 26th minute.
BEML strung together a few worthy moves. There was nothing much to write home about the BEML attack apart from a few flashes of brilliance from R.C. Prakash. But the striker himself was to blame for missing two gilt-edged opportunities his side got in the first half.
The Bangalore side was allowed to dominate the proceeding in the second half as Josco preferred to play the waiting the game. Josco’s moves were restricted to counterattacks as BEML pushed hard. But Josco defence was impregnable and R.C. Prakash was marked tightly rendering BEML’s attack toothless.
Nayanar memorial football
The E.K. Nayanar Memorial Gold Cup football tournament will be kicked off at the Municipal Jawahar Stadium here on February 7.
Announcing this at a press conference here on Monday, Communist Party of India (Marxist) Central Committee member and tournament organising committee chairman E.P. Jayarajan said that eight top teams in the country would take part in the tournament for the gold cup.
It was after a gap of 18 years that the teams playing in the national league were visiting here, he said. The teams are East Bengal, Mohammedan Sporting and Chirag United from West Bengal, Churchill Brothers, Goa, Mumbai FC, Pune FC, Air India and Viva Kerala.
The first pool matches would conclude on February 12 and the second pool would be held from February 14 and 19, he said. The semifinals would be held on February 21 and 22 and the final match would be held on February 24.
The inaugural match would be between Mohd. Sporting and Viva Kerala. An exhibition match of women players would be held on February 13, Mr. Jayarajan said. He also said that all arrangements including the preparation of the turf were completed.
Season tickets are priced at Rs. 5,000, Rs. 2,000, Rs. 1,000, Rs. 250 and Rs. 120 and daily ticket Rs. 10 and Rs. 20, he said.
Organising general convener M.V. Govindan, vice-chairman P. Sasi, FIFA Appeals Committee member P.P. Lakshmanan were present at the press meet.
Excise men triumph
R. Manoj (25 points) helped Central Excise (Kochi) defeat KSEB (Thiruvananthapuram) 76-56 and win the men’s title in the CYMA all-Kerala basketball tournament at the St. John the Baptist School courts, Nedumkunnam, on Sunday.
Changanassery’s Assumption College crushed Pala’s Alphonsa College 67-24 to clinch the women’s crown.
The results (finals):
Men: Central Excise (Kochi) 76 (R. Manoj 25, T.S. Abilash 14, Subash J. Shenoy 11, Joseph John 10) bt KSEB (Thiruvananthapuram) 56 (Eudrick Perera 11, V.G. Ajith 11, K.R. Nikhil 10).
Women: Assumption College (Changanassery) 67 (Jincy Joseph 13, Anju Mohan 12) bt Alphonsa College (Pala) 24 (Sonumol Soman 10).