ONGC FC made a fine recovery after a hesitant start to humble Kalighat Milan Sangha 5-1 in the opening group-C league match of the 34th Federation Cup football at the Kanchanjungha Stadium here on Friday.
Nigerian striker Keshukwu Onyema and Japanese midfielder Katsumi Yusa scored two each while Sachin Gawas struck once to complete ONGC’s impressive scoreline. Kalighat MS had the better start as it found an early lead off James Giblee before ONGC made the spectacular turnaround.
Making an early exit in the Durand Cup last month, the Mumbai-based ONGC impressed with its organisation and was good in utilising chances. The combination of its foreign recruits was also notable in the way Onyema and Yusa foxed the Kalighat MS defence.
The Kolkata-based Kalighat MS, which moved into the main round with an all-win record in the qualifiers, enjoyed the initial exchanges. While ONGC took time settle down owing to the heavy ground conditions, Kalighat went ahead in the 15th minute following a spectacular finish from new recruit Giblee.
Undaunted, ONGC reorganised its attack and turned the tide by the half-hour mark. Gawas fetched the equaliser in the 31st, picking up a pass from the midfield.
The newly promoted I-League team then took the lead in the 37th when Gawas essayed a measured cross across the Kalighat MS goalmouth for Onyema to slot home. The Nigerian striker continued to put pressure with his pace and made it 3-1 by half-time.
After the break Yusa donned a more attacking role and with Onyema replaced midway in the second half, the Japanese attacking midfielder moved up to score two quick goals in the 80th and 88th.
At Jamshedpur’s JRD Tata Complex, Dempo SC brightened its semifinal chances with a solitary goal win over Shillong Lajong FC in a Group-A league encounter. Clifford Miranda scored the winner from a spectacular freekick in the last minute of the first session.
The win put Dempo on top of the group standings with four points while Lajong remained on three points.
In another match of the same group Pailan Arrows came from behind twice to hold Mumbai FC 2-2 at the Keenan Stadium.
For Mumbai FC N.D. Opara scored both goals while D. Ganesh and Deepak Devrani scored the equalisers for Arrows.
Arrows has two points from two draws while Mumbai FC has one.
Doordarshan Sports will telecast live the semifinals and the final, which are scheduled to be played in Siliguri on September 27, 28 and 30, informed a release from the All India Football Federation.
The results: At Siliguri: Group C: ONGC 5 (Sachin Gawas 31, Keshukwu Onyema 37, 40, Katsumi Yusa 80, 88) bt Kalighat MS 1 (James Giblee 15).
At Jamshedpur: Group A: Dempo 1 (Clifford Miranda 45) bt Shillong Lajong FC 0; Mumbai FC 2 (N.D. Opara 12, 62) drew with Pailan Arrows 2 (D. Ganesh 45, Deepak Devrani 78).
Saturday’s matches: Group B (Siliguri): Mohamedan Sporting vs Churchill Brothers (3pm); Mohun Bagan vs Air India (7pm).Group D (Jamshedpur): Prayag United vs Pune FC; United Sikkim vs Salgaocar SC.
Keywords: 34th Federation Cup football,