Kolkata/Shillog/Goa/Pune: Salgaocar Sports Club scored two quick goals midway into the first session as the defending champions silenced Churchill Brothers Sports Club 3-0 in the 16th round I-league clash at the Nehru Stadium, Fatorda, on Sunday.
The Goa derby started fiercely at the start but it was clear that Salgaocar enjoyed the upperhand, as they peppered the rival goal with swift attacks.
Till the first half an hour, it remained goalless but the defending champions had their noses in front in the 30th minute when Ishfaq Ahmed gave them the lead.
Four minutes later, Edeh Chidi scored the team’s second goal as the defending champions had the match well and truly in its pocket. Ryuiji Sueoka converted from spot in 84th minute as Salgaocar completed the rout.
It was Ryuiji Sueoka who set the pace for Salgaocar, as Churchill defence found him too slippery to keep an eye on. The Japanese midfielder tested rival goalkeeper Felix D’Souza’s alertness with a smart flick which Felix somehow managed to parry away.
A minute later, Chidi’s half volley landed straight into the waiting hands of the goalkeeper.
Salgaocar opened the account just after the half hour mark as Francis Fernandes slipped a ball through to Ishfaq who did well to draw out the goalkeeper and then finish in style.
Salgaocar scored the insurance goal soon enough, this time thanks to the brilliance of Chidi. The Nigerian striker took a sudden shot which took everyone, including the Churchill goalkeeper, by surprise.
In the second session, Churchill coach Manuel Gomes worked out different combinations but none of the three strikers he chose could break the Salgaocar’s back. Henri Autchouet, Brazilian midfielder Beto and Mohammad Rafi all went close but Karanjit Singh under the Salgaocar horizontal bar proved a hard nut to crack.
Dominating for most part Salgaocar had chances to inflate their goal margin. The best chance fell at the feet of Ryuji after a rebound from Isfhaq’s attempt had landed straight at his feet but the Japanese could not get the better of the rival goalkeeper.
Sueoka completed the rout in the 84th minute when he converted a penalty which was awarded after Gouramangi Singh brought down Francis Fernandes.
Salgaocar are now at 28 points from 16 matches while Churchill stays at 29 points from 15 outings.
Man of the match was awarded to Tomba Singh.
Prayag beat Mohun Bagan 2-1
A spectacular pile-driver from former international Deepak Mondal gave Prayag United the necessary lead to help it upset the Kolkata giant Mohun Bagan 2-1, in a 16th round I-League match, played at the Salt Lake Stadium on Sunday.
The clash of two city clubs at the Salt Lake Stadium saw Prayag United discover dominant form to convincingly beat Mohun Bagan and move up the League standings.
Prayag began confidently and found the lead as early as 16th minute off its New Zealand striker Kayne Vincent. The doughty forward nodded home a nicely-set corner of James Singh.
Prayag’s lead did not last long as Mohun Bagan got back the equaliser in the 19th minute, when Mohun Bagan stopper-back Anwar Ali doubled up as an attacker and found the target off a Dhanarajan centre.
Both sides shared a few more scoring opportunities but failed to utilize them effectively.
Mohun Bagan failed to regroup after the break, while Prayag doubled its initiative and searched the goal route with more purpose.
Deepak Mondal, the AIFF player of the year in 2002, proved his merit yet again as he came on the overlap to get the winning goal for the Purple Brigade. Deepak unleashed an angular right-footer that beat the Mohun Bagan custodian Sangram Mukherjee with its power and accuracy.
The win took Prayag United to 28 points from 16 matches while helping it overtake Mohun Bagan – which remained on 27.
Prayag’s Deepak Mondal was adjudged man of the match.
Dempo scrape past Lajong
Dempo Sports Club came from behind to beat Shillong Lajong 2-1 in the 16th round I League encounter at the packed Shillong’s JN Sports Complex on Sunday.
It was the host who had majority of the ball possession in both the half but they lacked finishing touches upfront and failed to convert chances that came their way.
In the 16th minute of the game when Seikhohau Tuboi’s throw found the feet of Matthew Osvaldo Mayora in front of the goal mouth, but the later was caught dreaming as he did not made an attempt to place the ball into the goal and let the ball go out of touch line.
Till the breather the scoreline remained 0-0.
Changing over, both the team kept trying without any success. It was only in the 81st minute of the game that Lajong broke the deadlock when Tuboi headed home on former National player Rennedy Singh corner.
Lajong’s joy was short lived when Ranti Martin’s well measured shot from the midfield found the back of the net in the 88th minute of the game.
Two minute later referee S. S. Panda of Orissa awarded spot kick in favor of Goan side after he caught Wailadmi Passah handled the ball. Taking the shot Ranti, who was later declared man of the match, made no mistake to give his side a match winner.
With this win Dempo regained the top position with 36 points from 16 matches while Shillong Lajong stays at 17 points from 16 outings.
Air India hold Pune 2-2
Pune FC had everything on a platter—a home ground to play an away match, a full strength team to choose from and a form that has seen them remain unbeaten for nine matches so far—but on lovely Sunday afternoon they allowed Air India to dictate the terms to a 2-2 draw, in the 16th round I league clash.
Air India striker Ezeh Henry’s rapper of a goal in the 14th minute of the match gave hosts a chance to force Pune FC on the back-foot. For most part of the first half, Pune FC played a catch-up game with its forward-line finding it difficult to get past Air India goalkeeper Pawan Kumar.
Seventeen minutes into the second half and Air India seemingly nailed Pune FC’s confidence, when Sandesh Gadkari set up Takayuki Omi in the box for 2-0 lead.
As both the teams resorted to rough play upfront forcing a few substitutions including that of Jeje Lalpekhlua of Pune FC, raised the tempo of the match with the sparse crowd calling for revival.
Jeje, who himself went in as substitute, returned to the bench, and his replacement Maninder Singh chanced upon the rare opportunity to show his talent and kept threatening the Air India forte with a series of passes.
Subhash Singh and Arata Izumi worked the Air India defence, but the lucky gaps were not coming their way. Finally, it was seasoned Shanmugham Venkatesh who broke through the Air India defence and let the ball into the nettings in the 76th minute.
Seven minutes were added as injury time, which came as a reprieve for Pune FC, which by then was controlling the pace of the game and dominating in all departments.
In the third minute of injury-time, Maninder’s corner kick was cleared over the sidelines bringing in Lester Fernandes for throw in. Lester’s floater landed right in the middle and a tap from Subhash Singh inspired defender Chika Wali to run through the defence and head in the equalizer.
With this draw, Pune FC now have 27 points, while Air India stays with 21 points.