Defending champion Gokulam Kerala raced to a gigantic 7-2 win over Assam Rifles in the Durand Cup at the Municipal Stadium in Kalyani. The Malabarians took an unassailable 4-1 lead at the break before scoring three more in the second half of the Durand Cup.
Chisom Chikatara scored the tournament's first hat-trick while Benesto Barreto scored a brace followed by goals from Rahim Osamanu and Saourav for Gokuam Kerala. Roger Singh and Samujal Rabha scored the only two goals for the Assam Rifles which were nothing but consolation.
Chisom Chikatara opened the scoring in the very first minute with a sublime finish with the outside of his right boot to put Gokulam Kerala 1-0 ahead. Beneston Barreto made it 2-0 with a solo run after rounding up the Assam Rifles goalkeeper in the third minute. Rahim Osamanu tripled Gokulam's lead with a comfortable finish in the 34th minute after being played on a platter inside the Assam Rifles box.
Roger Singh pulled one back for the Assam Rifles before half-time with a rushed finish at the end of the pitch to make it 3-1 in the 36th minute. However, any chance of a potential comeback from Assam Rifles was thwarted soon after. Beneston Barreto scored his second in additional time in the first half to make it 4-1 for Gokulam Kerala in the Durand Cup.
Gokulam Kerala led 4-1 at half time in the Durand Cup
Chisom Chikatara scored his second goal after he was stranded in the Assam Rifles box. He had just the goalkeeper to beat with no defenders around him in the 52nd minute as Gokulam Kerala extended their lead to 5-1. Samuja Rabha made it 5-2 by scoring the second goal for the Assam Rifles with a header in the 63rd minute.
Sourav scored the sixth goal for the I-League side before Chikaatra completed his hat-trick with a chipped finish in the 71st minute to make it 7-2 for the Malabarians. The defending champions could have scored a lot more goals throughout the 90 minutes.
Gokulam Kerala finish top of Group D with seven points from three fixtures, scripting two wins and playing out a draw to advance to the knockout stages. The Malabarians will now face Mohammedan SC in the Durand Cup quarter-finals at the Salt Lake Stadium on 23rd September.