Air India batter G.M. Sports to storm into the semi-finals

Air India hammered Great Mother Sports Club 7-1 in the 2nd Quarter Final of the 109th RCF Nadkarni Cup to set up a semi-final with Kenkre FC. Mervin Stephen bagged a brilliant hat-trick as Air India racked up seven goals for the second game running in the Nadkarni Cup.

G.M.S.C were up for the game and that was evident from a vibrant start made by the men in white as they kept Air India at bay in the first ten minutes. Last year’s runners-up had the first sight of the goal in the 15th minute when Rugved Yeole’s effort from six yards out was brilliantly kept out by G.M.S.C goalkeeper Pritan Jadhav who dived at full stretch to his right to prevent Yeole’s strike from going into the bottom corner.

However Jadhav couldn’t deny Yeole eight minutes later when he fired Air India in front with a neatly taken goal as G.M.S.C’s resistance was broken. Air India then doubled their lead in the 32nd minute when Mervin Stephen got on the score sheet for the MDFA Elite Division Champions.

G.M.S.C as ever weren’t ready to surrender without a fight and had a couple of good opportunities to get themselves back in the game in the final ten minutes of the half but failed to make the most of the chances as Air India were able to maintain their two goal lead.

The lead got healthier for Air India in the second minute of first half stoppage time when Mervin Stephen was allowed all the time in the world to take a shot on goal which found its way into the bottom corner after taking a deflection.

G.M.S.C made themselves no favours after being anything but clinical in both the boxes and found themselves with a mountain to climb in the second half.

It was one-way traffic in the second half as Air India seized the initiative in the second half and soon added to their tally when Aaron D’Costa got in on the act with a brilliant goal. D’Costa’s clever turn took the G.M.S.C rearguard completely out of the equation before he finished quite comprehensively in the bottom corner.

Aaron D’Costa then got his second of the game after he beat the offside trap and rounded off the goalkeeper to fire Air India’s fifth goal. G.M.S.C who had all but given up looked increasingly jaded and shipped in a sixth goal in the 78th minute as Sunny Thakur was the beneficiary.

But the best moment of the game came few minutes later when Mervin Stephen completed his hat-trick with a cheeky chip over the G.M.S.C goalkeeper who endured an afternoon to forget.

However there was some joy for G.M.S.C as Steve N’Cho grabbed a late consolation as they exited the tournament on a high.

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