Kochi: Pailan Arrows defeated Chirag United Kerala 3-0 to register their first win in the I-League. The All India Football Federation’s developmental team rode on National Team striker CS Sabeeth’s hat-trick to deflate Chirag Kerala. Sabeeth scored the first in the 33rd minute and then doubled the score in the injury time of the first half. He completed the rout in the injury time of the second half when he converted from the spot.
The victory takes Pailan Arrows to 13 points from 24 matches while the relegation axe fell on Chirag Kerala who stay on 17 points from 24 matches.
Chances were even for the sides in the early period of the play as rival strikers Vineeth CK for Chirag and George Alwyn for Pailan came close to putting their respective teams into an early lead.
But all had to wait till the 33rd minute for the first goal. Chirag goalkeeper and captain Sharath K was to blame for the goal as he fumbled a shot from Malswamfela. The ball fell kindly for Sabeeth who just had to tap it in from close.
Pailan’s young guns doubled their lead in the added time of the first half. This time it was from a break initiated by Bikramjit Singh who released Sabeeth ahead of Chirag backline. Sabeeth rounded past the on rushing Sharath and slotted the ball into the open net to conclude the first forty-five minutes.
Changing over, Chirag coach Biswajit Bhattacharya brought in winger Usman Ashik in place of Suman Dutta. He also rang changes by bringing on Pradeep Mohanraj in the central midfield and pushing Vineeth to the wings to bring more creativity.
But their fortunes did not change and relegation was looming in the horizons. And it could not have gone worse for them as Sherin Sam received marching orders for bringing down George Alwyn in the box and a spot kick was awarded to Arrows. Sabeeth blasted the penalty down the middle of the goal, completing the Indian international's first I-League hat-trick.
Sabeeth was adjudged Man-of-the-Match.
Pailan Arrows Coach Sujit Chakrabarty sounded pleased after the win. “This was long due. We have been unlucky not to win quite a few matches against tougher oppositions. It feels nice we came good,” he said.
Goalkeeping Coach Tanumoy Basu added: “I have never been in doubt about the quality of our boys. It’s true that conversion has cost us dear in the League so far. But today that wasn’t the case. It feels nice to win in such a convincing manner.” (IANS)