Mohammed Rafi’s first-half goal handed Dodsal FC a vital 1-0 win over NRB Vasco SC in the second division I-League at the Football Stadium here on Tuesday. The outcome, due in no small part to the efforts of its goalkeeper Arup Debnath, sent Dodsal (aka Mumbai Tigers) joint top of the Group ‘C’ table alongside Southern Samity.

Dodsal and Vasco — both with seven points from three games ahead of this one — are in direct competition to advance from the group; this contest was therefore going to be critical to both.

Dodsal set off in earnest, N.P. Pradeep testing the goalkeeper with an early shot from the edge of the area.

The India international had a major hand in the goal, his lovely raking ball from the centre circle finding Thoi Singh on the right flank. The latter skipped past the left-back and squared for Mohammed Rafi, leaving him with a simple tap-in.

Emmanuel Chinew had been Vasco’s chief attacking outlet in the first half, although to no great effect. He exploded into action after the interval, drawing two excellent saves from Debnath inside the first five minutes.

Vasco drove forward relentlessly, pushing the big centre-half Stephen Offei into attack. The Ghanaian came desperately close in the 85th minute, his accurate shot tipped over the bar by Debnath.

Moments later, substitute Assim Hassan let rip from 45 yards only to see the ball cannon off the corner of the bar and post.

Dodsal clung on for the win, delighted with another step forward.

In the day’s second game Kochi’s Eagles FC brushed aside Luangmual FC 3-1. Onome Akportu, M. Sujikumar and Ahamed Malik scored for the victor.

The results: NRB Vasco SC 0 lost to Dodsal FC 1 (Mohammed Rafi 22); Luangmual FC 1 (B. Zoramthara 66) lost to Eagles FC 3 (Onome Akportu 7, M. Sujikumar 45, Ahamed Malik 61).

At Indore: Aizawl FC 3 (Justice-2, Tluanga) bt Josco FC 0.

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