Goa 5s ran out 7-2 victors over Bengaluru 5s as Ronaldinho set alight the Jawaharla Nehru Indoor Stadium in Chennai with a virtuoso five goal performance, the best of Premier Futsal so far.
Ronaldinho and Paul Scholes shared the same pitch after a long 8 years, with the duo last facing off in 2008. The Brazilian had disappointed in the first game, struggling to keep pace, but looked much better right from the off, setting up teammate Rafael as he struck the post in the opening minute, as Goa started the brighter side.
The Barcelona legend had the crowd in rapt cheers with a brilliant goal in the 6th minute, as a corner from the left was laid off to him in the box, but he exquisitely side-stepped the diving goalkeeper and slotted into an empty net to give Goa the lead. Bengaluru came back right at the end of the first quarter, as Maximiliano scored a brilliant solo goal, slotting from a narrow angle after a quick stepover past the keeper.
The second quarter started in blistering style with Ronaldinho turning it on, but it was Bengaluru who took the lead through Jonathan Piers, who collected a pass and slammed it home with his left foot. Their joy was short-lived as Ronaldinho decided this was the moment to remind everyone why he is joga bonito personified. First, he scored with an eye-of-the needle shot when surrounded by two defenders and a diving keeper.
The Brazilian maestro then completed his hat-trick and gave Goa a comeback lead with a first time reflex shot into the net after Rafael had set him up, sending the Chennai crowd wild, with the score at the end of the second quarter, 3-2 in Goa’s favour.
Paul Scholes struggled to influence the game in the third quarter, but his counterpart for Goa continued toying with the Bengaluru defence, first with a series of keepy-ups and then a mazing dribbling run. Scholes responded with a calm nutmeg of his own, before rolling back the years and setting up Jonathan with a lofted cross-field ball, but the Bengaluru forward’s shot at an open goal was weak, and cleared off the line.
If there was any doubt about his quality left, Ronaldinho obliterated it with a cheeky fourth in the 32nd minute, lofting the ball over a defender and into the net with Bengaluru keeper Elias stranded upfield. Marshall made it 5-2 moments, later tapping the ball from a yard out after Vampeta’s shot from the right was parried into his path.
Vampeta repeated the trick at the end, seeting up Rafael to volley home the 6th of Goa’s night, with Ronaldinho also having the time to miss a late penalty, before slotting home his fifth of the night from a counter, with a calm near-post finish to put the cherry on top of the icing of Goa’s futsal cake.