Gokulam FC, Kerala, kept themselves in the hunt for a place in the semi-finals with a convincing 5-0 demolition of Vasco Sports Club in the 1st AWES Cup, organised by Association for the Wellbeing of Elder Sportspersons (AWES) and Dempo Sports Club Juniors, at Duler Football Stadium, Mapusa, on Friday.
The comfortable victory takes Gokulam on top of Group D and they will now need only a draw against Sporting Clube de Goa in the concluding league clash on Tuesday to qualify as group toppers. Sporting Clube had earlier won 5-1 against Vasco, leaving them with a must-win game against the visitors from Kerala.
The star man for Gokulam was Nigerian striker Somide Adelaja who scored a hat-trick. The former East Bengal striker struck twice in the first half and completed his hat-trick after the change of ends.
Gokulam led 2-0 at half-time.
Adelaja did not have the best of starts as he missed a sitter in the opening minutes but made amends for his miss in the 19th minute when he opened his account. The Nigerian finished with a good volley after meeting a cross from Ashique Usman.
Adelaja was constantly involved in the build-ups and provided scoring opportunities for his teammates. But the likes of Shihad Nelliparamban and Arif Shaikh lacked sharpness in front of goal.
Gokulam scored their second goal in the 42nd minute with Ashique tapping in a low cross from Adelaja.
Vasco were playing second fiddle for most part of the match and had only one good look at goal when Benestton Barreto went close.
In the second session, Adelaja overpowered defender Minesh Kunkolkar and finished neatly to secure his brace in the 60th minute.
Substitute Arjun Jayaraj made it 4-0 from close range and could have added another to his kitty but the goalkeeper came up with a brilliant save.
Gokulam, however, could not be denied again as Adelaja completed his hat-trick after heading in a corner from Dibin MD.
The goal could prove to be crucial in the end as it gives Gokulam a better goal-difference ahead of the deciding clash against Sporting Clube on Tuesday.