Top Five Biggest wins in NFL and I-League history
High-spenders Prayag United sent out a title warning with a 10-1 victory over newly-promoted United Sikkim in the I-League in Kolkata on Saturday. Sportskeeda lists the top five biggest wins in the combined history of the National Football League (NFL), which began in 1996, and I-League, rebranded in 2007. See where Prayag’s 10-1 hammering is placed.
Dempo 14-0 Air India (2010-11 I-League)
The biggest-win in the combined history of the NFL and I-League actually raised questions of match fixing as Dempo walloped Air India 14-0 in the penultimate round of the 2010-11 I-League campaign. Coming into the game, Dempo needed a win by 13 goals and were hoping Salgaocar lost to JCT to keep their title hopes alive. Salgaocar defeated JCT 2-0 to win the title but Dempo did their bit by scoring 14 past Air India, who still managed to avoid relegation.
Incredibly, there were no goals in the opening 30 minutes and eight of the goals were scored in the second half. Some of the ones who were present that day at Margao’s Nehru Stadium claimed that at least three goals were clear offside. There was no investigation however and the match fixing claim by some other clubs remains only an allegation till date. For the record, Ranti Martins bagged a double hattrick to finish top scorer that season. Brazilian Beto netted four times, Peter Carvalho got a brace while Climax Lawrence and Clifton Gonsalves were the other scorers.
Prayag United 10-1 United Sikkim (2012-13 I-League)
In football, the ‘new-coach syndrome’ is often used when a team struggling under one particular manager suddenly sees a change of fortunes in the very first game under a new coach. Well in Prayag United’s case, they weren’t actually struggling under Sanjoy Sen but still had to prove a point under Dutch coach Eelco Schattorie. As it turned out, the man from the Netherlands couldn’t have wished for a better start to his coaching stint in India. The Prayag outfit put ten past United Sikkim, who were playing their first-ever away match in the I-League.
Ranti Martins, the top scorer from the last two seasons, netted five to take his tally to 11 in 5 games while Costa Rican World Cupper Carlos Hernandez bagged a brace. Shylo Malswamtluanga and Mohammed Rafique were Prayag’s other scorers, while United Sikkim’s Costa Rican World Cupper Michael Rodrigues scored an own goal. Nima Tamang scored Sikkim’s consolation goal.
Mahindra United 9-0 Mohammedan Sporting (2006-07 NFL)
Defending champions Mahindra United failed to retain the title as Dempo won the crown with one round to spare. Mahindra’s last game of the season was a home tie against Mohammedan Sporting and they made up for the disappointment of missing out on the title in some style. Kolkata’s Mohammedan Sporting were already relegated and thus were only playing for pride themselves, but ended up losing by nine goals at Mumbai’s Cooperage Stadium.
Mahindra actually managed to score just twice in the first half but found the back of the net four times in the final half hour of the game. Mohammed Rafi scored a hattrick, Ghanaian Andrews Mensah bagged a brace while Samson Fernandes, Bhola Prasad, Steven Dias and Rauf Khan also got on the scoresheet.
Churchill Brothers 9-1 Vasco (2008-09 I-League)
Odafa Okolie was quickly becoming the hottest striker in the Indian football circuit and this match possibly confirmed it. Churchill thumped fellow Goan outfit Vasco 9-1 to not only record one of the biggest wins in the I-League but also revived their title challenge, having lost to Sporting Clube de Goa in the previous game. It actually took Churchill 42 minutes to open the deadlock, and they were only 2-0 up at the break with Odafa scoring just once.
But the Nigerian goal machine was unstoppable in the second half as he scored five times to complete a double hattrick. Compatriot Felix Chimaokwu scored two while Reisangmi Vashum netted the other goal for Churchill. Young Lester Fernandez scored Vasco’s only goal. The result turned out to be the catalyst of Churchill’s maiden, and till date only, India league crown, while Vasco were relegated after finishing rock bottom with a goal difference of -35.
Vasco 8-0 HAL (2002-03 NFL)
Ten seasons back though, Vasco were on the right end of a big win. Their 8-0 hammering of HAL was the first instance of a club scoring eight goals in the NFL and it came under the coaching of Derrick Pereira, who has already been mentioned on the right end of another thrashing. Back in the 2002-03 season, Vasco surprised all by mounting a title challenge and although they eventually finished third, the potential of Derrick Pereira’s coaching was very well evident.
Bangalore’s HAL came into this game with just 8 points in 18 games and had very little hope of survival. All their hopes of an upset were diminished in the first half itself as Vasco raced to a 4-0 lead with Brazilian Marcos Pereira bagging a brace while Agnelo Gomes and Menino Fernandes scored the other two. Agnelo scored three more in the second half and at that time became only the third Indian after Bhaichung Bhutia and Manjit Singh to score four in a match. Rui Wanderlei Weis completed the rout.