Strikers Abhishek Ambekar and Shahbaz Pathan, both scored two goals each to power Maharashtra to an authoritative 6-2 victory against Gujarat in a West Zone qualifying round match of the 70th National Football Championship for Santosh Trophy played at the Tilak Maidan, Vasco, Goa on Thursday. Raynier Fernandes and Mervin Stephen got the other two goals for Maharashtra, while Shoeb K. and Mandeep Singh got the goals for Gujarat.
Maharashtra were dominant from the start, but had to wait till the 21st minute to break the deadlock when Raynier successfully converted a penalty. Three minutes later Mervin doubled the lead before Abhishek scored his first and the team’s third goal in the 42nd minute as Maharashtra went into the break with a healthy 3-0 advantage.
Maharashtra increased the lead with Shahbaz Pathan joining the party by scoring the fourth goal in the 52nd minute. Gujarat managed to pull one back through Shoeb K in the 58thminute, but Maharashtra killed the contest with Abhishek (62nd minute) and Shahbaz (82nd) scoring the last two goals to complete the rout. Mandeep Singh reduced the margin of defeat with a goal in the 75th minute.