The improbable consumed reality at the Olympic Stadium yesterday as drop zone certainties Chhalam Samut put it across one of the Super Four contestants National Police 7-6 in a Metfone C League match that had an unmistakable festive air about it.
Baffling as the score-line was, the sides seemingly relished goals which came swift and easy. Six goals shared in the first half, even produced in the second.
It was a League wrap-up for the Police after a campaign stretching to 18 games during which their performance has far exceeded expectations.
A place in the Super Four already cemented, the Police end up with 33 points made up of nine wins, six draws and three defeats. For the Sea Sharks their third win in 17 outings means too little too late. Their time in the top tier is up along with Western University, the two sides slipping away to the lower division.
Before the Police train their thoughts on a maiden title and the Super Four contests for it, they are heading to neighbouring Vietnam to take part in the EximBank Cup from August 18 to September 5.
Silva Sunday, Bisan George and Ron Rany scored a brace of goals each for the Sea Sharks with Sam Minar adding his name to the score-sheet. The brightest spot for the Police was four-timer by their main striker Nelson Oladiji whose effort was well supported by Ly Arifine and Noun Borey with a goal each.
When nippy Nelson Oladiji completed a 10-minute first half hat-trick, the second leg of which was an amazing tennis style lob from afar into the goal, it looked plain sailing for the Police.
But the Sharks had other ideas. In one hard push lasting 15 minutes midway through the second half they shot into a 7-4 lead. It was here that the giant score-board gave the spectators a brief comical interlude twice crediting Sharks goals to the Police.
But the reality at the time was that the Police desperately needed those goals. Olatunde added one more to his first half tally and Police narrowed the gap down to 6-7 when the final whistle called a halt to their comeback plans.
The only comfort even in this defeat for the Police is that Oladiji’s four-goal haul has taken him ahead of Naga’s Chhum Chun in the race for the Golden Boot. The Police hitman’s total of 18 trumps the Naga striker by two.
To contact the reporter on this story: H S Manjunath at [email protected]