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Rafi does star turn for Mahindra Utd

Last updated on: March 02, 2009 09:59 IST

Mahindra United recorded their highest tally in the I-League this season, a 4-0 drubbing of cellar team Vasco Sports Club in a 17th round match at the Cooperage in Mumbai on sunday.

It was double the tally they had notched in their first leg away encounter against the Goan team. They led 3-0 at half-time.

But the talking points about the result were not only how many the jeepmen scored but also how many they missed from the multitude of opportunities that came their way. Had they been on target a couple of times more they could have well walked away with a tennis tally.

Mohammed Rafi did the star turn for the 'Red Devils' with a brace in 35th and 75th minutes. Sushil Kumar Singh opened the account in the 31st with a thunderous volley off a cross from right-wing back Sushant Mathew that beat Laxmikant Kattimani under the Vasco bar all ends up. Then Chidi Edeh got into the act four minutes later with another stunning shot, his fourth goal in the championship.

Derrick Pereira's outfit now seem to have rescued themselves as they zoom up to seventh position with 21 points after their fifth victory while Vasco stay rooted to the last rung of the ladder with 10 points after their 11th defeat.

Mahindra struck a good rhythm from early on but, as usual, their shooters were in a prodigal mood in the early stages of the match and it looked that Vasco would manage to keep a clean slate till the breather. But once Singh, the reserve India striker, found the netting with a super strike, the floodgates opened and three classy goals in the space of five minutes completely knocked the stuffing out of Elvis Goes's visiting side who are headed for relegation barring a last minute miracle.

Apart from winger Rafi, creative midfielder Douhou Pierre, Steven Dias and Sushant Mathew had a good outing for the winners.

Vasco looked good in the midfield, stringing together some nice short passing bouts, but they ran out of ideas once they reached the rival box and all they managed to do was taking long shots at the Mahindra citadel which did not stretch Subhasish Roy Chowdhury one bit. An early long ranger by Lester Fernandes however screamed perilously over the bar. It was the closest that Vasco came to getting on the scoresheet.

Incidentally, the Goans have conceded 17 goals in their last three games while scoring just one!

Mario Rodrigues
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