Margao: Striker N D Opara starred with a hat-trick as Churchill Brothers trounced Sporting Clube de Goa 5-0 to move to second place in the 12th round I-League match at the Nehru Stadium here on Wednesday.

Churchill Brothers, who led 3-0 at half time, scored through striker N D Opara (8th, 26th, 55th) and substitute Binesh Balan scored a brace in the 39th and 78th minute respectively to complete the rout.

Following the win, Churchill are one point behind table-toppers Dempo having collected 26 points from 12 games. Sporting Clube de Goa remained on 13 points from as many matches.

Churchill Brothers, who started with Mohammed Rafi along with N D Opara and rested Henri Autchouet, went into attacking mode from the start with Roberto Silva orchestrating most of the moves from behind as they put the rival defense under pressure and surged ahead in the 8th minute.

A harmless looking shot from Lalrindika Ralte from top of the box deflected defender Adil Khan and went to the feet of unmarked Opara inside the box, who had the simple task of putting the ball into the net which he did by beating custodian Milagrio Medeira to his left.

The goal put the rival defense in disarray as they failed to check the rival strikers inside the box at crucial juncture and conceded two more goals.

Substitute Binesh Balan who induced more thrust in the attack sent a high cross from the left for Mohammed Rafi whose header hit the cross bar and came to an unmarked Opara who slammed the ball into the net from close in the 26th minute.

Balan made it 3-0 by slotting the ball into the net, after being left free into the box by rival defence, off a cross from Rafi in the 39th minute.

Changing over, Churchill Brothers maintained their superiority over the rival and pumped two more goals to put the contest beyond Sporting's reach.

Steven Dias, who took the freekick from the right, floated the ball deep into the box for an unmarked Opara who headed home to complete his hat-trick in the 55th minute.

Balan completed the rout and his brace in the 78th minute. After accepting a pass from Rafi, he moved into the box, beat defender Rovan Pereira and let go an angular shot to find the back of the net.

Sporting, who were no match to Churchill, came close to scoring in each half as first Dawson Fernandes essayed a scorching shot which rival keeper Arindam Bhattacharya blocked with a dive and latter an Adil Khan shot from inside the box was saved on the goal line by defender Ravanan Dharmaraj.

(Agencies)