Calcutta: Angel could not have had a better gift on Women's Day.
For, her husband and McDowell Mohun Bagan captain Okolie Odafe came up with a 'pentastic' performance against the whipping boys of Indian football ' United Sikkim Football Club ' and then dedicated his five goals to wife. "This is for my wife, Angel," Odafe said.
At the Kalyani Stadium, on Friday, Mohun Bagan ran amok against a hapless USFC, banging in five and conceding once in a Group B match of the IFA Shield.
And the man of the moment was none other than the Nigerian goal machine. He scored one in the first half and then fired in four in 66th, 85th, 89th and 91st minutes. In between when the score was 2-0, Nuruddin Salau had made it 2-1 for USFC giving a glimmer of hope to coach Nathan Hall. But then, Odafe had other ideas.
This was Bagan's second victory in as many matches and are through to the semi-finals. On Sunday, they play Deportivo Saprissa and a draw will be enough for them to top the group and avoid East Bengal in the last-four stage.
Bagan were not that impressive in the first-half. And that had more to do with the heat than USFC's game plan. "This is inhuman. It's too hot out here. How can you expect good football when you have a 3pm kick-off," Odafe said after the match.
Bagan had to wait till the 29th minute to get the lead. Sabeeth played it to Odafe, who after a swift turn inside the box, drilled it into the far corner. Odafe had a bit of chit-chat with goalkeeper Monotsh Ghosh which he later said was more of a banter. "Will bang in four more," he said. Nobody knew, though, at that point in time this would be prophetic.
The second was a gift from the USFC defence. Sabeeth flicked an Aiborlang Khongjee corner and the USFC failed to react as Odafe charged in. The ball brushed his body before nestling into the net. Sonam Bhutia could have done better in dealing with corner.
Aiborlang should be blamed for the goal Bagan conceded. Pablo Aracil got a faint touch to Steve Hayes throw-in. Aiborlang tried to clear the ball but ended up giving it on a platter to Nuruddin who made it 2-1.
Odafe's got his hat-trick with a smart finish and then latched onto substitute Jewel Raja pass to bang in his fourth. And by the time his fifth ' a booming right-footer which hit the back of the net ' came, USFC had already caved in.
As Hall said after the match: "In the end, one man made the difference."
You do not have to know rocket science to understand who the Australian was referring to.
Mohun Bagan: Arindam Bhattacharya, Aiborlang Khongjee, Mehrajuddin Wadoo, Aniyeche Echezona, Biswajit Saha; Syed Rahim Nabi (Jewel Raja 78), Quinton Jacobs (Tolgay Ozebe 77), Denson Devadas, Manish Maithani, CS Sabeeth (Manish Bhargav 89), Okolie Odafe.
United Sikkim: Monotosh Ghosh; Avishek Das, Anwar Ali, Munmum T Lugun, Syed Farid, (Safar Sardar 75), Shahenshah Ansari (Steve Hayes 53), Linekar Machado, Nima Tamang, Nadong Bhutia (Pablo Aracil 53), Nuruddin Salau, Sonam Zangpo Bhutia.
Referee: Ajit Meetei