Brazillian striker Marcelo Pereira scored a brilliant hat-trick as Delhi Dynamos continued with their impressive form with a 5-1 walloping of FC Goa in New Delhi on Sunday and put themselves in a strong position for a play-offs berth in the Indian Super League football tournament.
Pereira struck in the 38th, 48th and 56th minutes to take his goal tally to eight, three more than his closest rivals for the Golden Boot, while Richard Gadze was on target in the 51st and 57th minutes as it rained goals for Delhi in their final home game of the league stage at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.
Delhi scored their last four goals of the match, all in the second half, in the space of nine minutes to the delight of the 18,000-odd spectators.
Interestingly, it was Goa, who were already out of reckoning for a play-offs berth before this match, scored first through Fulganco Cardozo in the 31st minute against the run of play but Delhi responded with overwhelming superiority to notch up their fifth win of the season.
Delhi are now at second spot with 20 points from 12 matches, behind already qualified Mumbai City FC (22 points from 13 matches). They play NorthEast United on November 30 and Mumbai City FC on December 3 in their last two matches, both away games.
The Gianluca Zambrotta-coached side thus remained the only team not to lose a match at home this season. They have won thrice and drawn four times this season at home. Sunday's comprehensive win against Goa added to their growing reputation as the strong title contenders.
For Goa, the last season runners-up finishers, it was the familiar disappointment as they slumped their eighth loss of the season. They remained at the bottom with 11 points from 13 matches. They have their final match against defending champions Chennaiyin FC at home on December 1.