Bengaluru, Oct 23 (IANS): Delhi FC finished their I-League Qualifiers 2021 campaign in style as they outclassed Madan Maharaj FC 6-0 at the Bangalore Football Stadium, here on Saturday.
Delhi FC scored three goals on either side of halftime with Nikhil Mali and Gagandeep Bali netting a brace each, while Sergio Barboza and captain Anwar Ali added one goal each to end the capital side's maiden Qualifiers campaign on a high.
Delhi dominated proceedings from the starting whistle, having an early chance to take the lead when Brazilian Barboza ran clear through on goal with only the goalkeeper to beat. Barboza was caught up by a retrieving Pranendra Singh Thakur, but the latter's last-ditch tackle on the Delhi attacker was deemed a foul inside the box by the referee.
Having earned the penalty for the second time in successive matches, Sergio Barboza stepped up to take the spot-kick and calmly converted from his third attempt in the 5th minute. In the 13th minute, Jagannath Sana produced Madan Maha'aj FC's only shot on target in the first half as he embarked on a wonderful individual run, twisting and turning to evade tackles from the chasing Delhi FC players before hitting a low drive and drawing a fine save from goalkeeper Suraj Mallick.
Delhi FC doubled their lead in the 19th minute through winger Nikhil Mali. The goal came from a well-worked set-piece routine that came right out of the Delhi FC training ground.
With the MMFC players anticipating a shot from Anwar Ali's free-kick from a promising position, Delhi FC caught them off guard as Ali played in Sergio Barboza who drilled in a low cross that was tapped in comfortably by Nikhil Mali at the edge of the 6-yard box.
Nikhil Mali soon doubled his personal tally and made it 3-0 for Delhi FC in the 21st minute. He could have had a quickfire hattrick within five minutes, but he missed a glorious chance to bag his third goal in the 24th minute.
Delhi FC resumed the second half just as they had played all through the first, and made it 4-0 through substitute striker Gagandeep Bali. The second-half substitute grabbed a brace seven minutes later and made it 5-0 for Delhi FC in the 63rd minute.
Delhi compiled further misery on MMFC ten minutes later in the 73rd minute as the side from the capital racked up half a dozen goals. Delhi had many more chances to add to their sizeable advantage over the remainder of the game, but could not do so as the likes of Laiwang Bohham, Himanshu Jangra, and Samuel Shadap all missed relatively easy chances.
The result ensured that Madan Maharaj remain winless in the final round of the Hero I-League Qualifiers, while Delhi FC finish on four points.