South United FC earned its first points in the second division I-League, defeating Hindustan FC 2-0 at the Football Stadium here on Wednesday.
Vinoth Kumar scored the opener on 37 minutes, before T. Amoes capped off a bold second-half performance by the local team with a second goal deep into injury time.
The result will come as a relief to Raman Vijayan’s side, hitherto winless from three games, although chances of qualification from Group C remain slim.
Hindustan appeared to have taken the lead inside four minutes when Andrea Silva’s free-kick from 25 yards found the net, but the goal was ruled out. The referee Melwin D’Costa had signalled for an indirect free-kick, something the players had failed to notice.
The sides trudged through the first half, Hindustan tired in possession and South United slow in the turnover, often lacking the cohesion to take advantage of space.
In the event, the goal arrived via a defensive error.
The Hindustan goalkeeper Shantanu Jain stepped out to collect a free-kick and fell over, the ball bounced around in the box till Vinoth nodded it in.
In the second half, though, South United appeared revitalised.
There was non-stop pressure on the ball from the front — a trait the team had not exhibited previously in the competition — forcing Hindustan players into misplacing passes. In attack, the ball was sent out wide at every opportunity, Amoes and substitute Mani Vannan a constant threat to the defence.
Even with the clock ticking down, South United rushed forward in search of a second. Nine minutes from time, Mani Vannan produced a great cutback for Solai Malai, but the midfielder shot straight at the ’keeper. The former came desperately close himself, his shot at the end of a fine run rolling back off the inside of the post.
South United was finally rewarded with a second goal moments from the whistle, Amoes lashing the ball in following a throw-in from near the corner flag.
The result: South United FC 2 (Vinoth Kumar 37, Amoes 90+3) bt Hindustan FC 0
Points after four matches: Mumbai Tigers (Dodsal FC) 10; Southern Samity 10; Vasco 7; Kalighat Milan Sangha 6; Eagles FC 4; Hindustan FC 3; South United FC 3; Luangmual FC 3.
Thursday’s matches: Kalighat Milan Sangha vs Luangmual FC; Eagles FC vs NRB Vasco SC.
Keywords: I-League second division football