Don Bosco Andrew unleashed a crisp left-footer into the right corner of the goal to clinch a thriller of a match-winner with seconds left for the hooter as Sesa Goa defeated Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) 3-2 in a Group ‘C’ quarterfinal league match of the 125th Durand Cup football tournament at the Ambedkar Stadium, here on Saturday.
The Goan side was sitting petty with a 2-0 lead midway through the second half after a barren first session, following smart goals from Yogesh Kadam and Inacio Colaco, before it was woken up to a rude shock by CRPF, which found two goals out of the blue.
In fact, it was Sesa that felicitated the first goal for CRPF as P. Somarjeet’s corner kick deflected home off a Sesa defender in the 37th minute of the second-half. Rejuvenated by the goal, CRPF found the equaliser in the third minute of the five-minute injury time as Sugesh headed sharply, following a floater from Y. Priyo.
Coach Clifford Chukwuma was at his wit’s end, but breathed easy as Andrew slotted a fine goal, capitalising on the ball that stopped in his favour in slushy conditions right in front of the goal.
Sesa will need a draw against Pune FC to make the semifinals as the latter had drawn goalless against CRPF.
Good day for Dodsal Mumbai
In another lively match, Dodsal Mumbai asserted its strike power as it overcame slow and slushy conditions to beat Army Red 3-0 after a goalless first-half in a Group ‘D’ league match.
Army Red had won its earlier match against Punjab Police, but found the Mumbai team increasingly difficult to control as the match progressed. The Army defence was quite stout and Dodsal struggled to strike a goal till midway through the second-half and it required the awarding of a penalty kick to open the account.
K. Thoi Singh was brought down inside the box when he tried to pounce on a chance created by Avijit Ghosh. Sunil Kumar converted the penalty with a low shot to the left of the goal-keeper.
Army had a chance to equalise about five minutes later, but Antony Ramesh missed the goal despite being very close to the target when presented the chance by Manoj Toppo.
Thereafter, Dodsal strengthened its attack, particularly through substitutes Demba Diakhate and N.P. Pradeep. It was a peach of a goal by Pradeep who curled a long ranger from the left near the sideline, close to the team’s bench, into the far corner of the goal, above the stretched hand of custodian Binu Purushothaman.
Demba Diakhate increased the margin a minute into the injury time.
Brace by Okwudiu
Earlier in the morning, amidst heavy rain, Delhi United owed it to a double strike by Michael Okwudiu as it played out a 2-2 draw against Pailan Arrows.
Okwudiu scored the first goal in the 24th minute and wound up the show in the injury time before final hooter.
Pailan Arrows scored through Holicharan Narzary and Ongnam Milan Singh midway through the second-half.
The results: Sesa Goa 3 (Yogesh Kadam, Inacio Colaco, Don Bosco Andrew) bt CRPF 2 (P. Somarjeet, Sugesh); Dodsal (Mumbai) 3 (Sunil Kumar, N.P. Pradeep, Demba Diakhate) bt Army Red 0; Delhi United 2 (Michael Okwudiu 2) drew with Pailan Arrows 2 (Holicharan Narzary, Ongnam Milan Singh).
Sunday’s fixtures: ONGC v Assam Rifles (1.45 p.m.); Air India v Delhi United (3.45 p.m.).
Keywords: 125th Durand Cup football tournament