Ranjeet Singh nets hat-trick as 10-man Maharashtra win big

Mumbai, January 11: A 10-man Maharashtra posted a fluent 5-0 win against Lakshadweep in a Group-B qualifying round league match of the AIFF 72nd National Football Championship for the Santosh Trophy to be held at Ahmedabad, Gujarat on Thursday.

The feature of Maharashtra’s victory was the fine efforts from striker Ranjeet Singh who netted a hat-trick scoring three of the first four goals, scored in the first half. Sahil Bhokare and Aaron D’Costa scored the other two goals.

Maharashtra captain and goalkeeper Owais Khan unnecessarily came out of his area and handled the ball which prompted the referee to immediately flash the red card at the offending custodian in the 45th minute.

Playing with a man down, Maharashtra slowed the game down in the second period and they were more intent of keeping ball possession and managed to add one more goal to the four that they had scored in the first session.

Ranjeet found success in the opening moments of the match scoring from Maharashtra first raid on the rival goal. He scored two more in the 26th minute (penalty) and 35th minute while Bhokare scored one in the 27th minute. D’Costa fired home the fifth in the 49th minute.

Hat-trick hero Ranjeet Singh, who plays for Elite Division side Union Bank of India (UBI), belongs from Chattisgarh and has recently moved to UBI after the club spotted the young and lanky striker. Union Bank of India is itself known for producing emerging players and has been following the same philosophy for over the years. It is quite fascinating that a player from other state has found his feet so quickly in different conditions.

Results: Maharashtra 5 (Ranjeet Singh 1st min, 26th min-Pen, 35th min, Sahil Bhokare 26th min, Aaron D’Costa 49th min) beat Lakshadweep 0.