NEW DELHI: JCT, Phagwara and Air-India, Mumbai took their appointed places in the quarterfinal league of the Osian's Durand Cup football tournament at the Ambedkar Stadium here on Saturday.
Air-India, trailing twice, eliminated a spirited Assam Rifles 5-2 in group `A' while JCT overcame Border Security Force 3-0 in group `B'.
The scoreline in the Air-India-Assam Rifles does not portray the true picture. Assam Rifles took the field with a determination and seemed on course when Buke Jigdong scored from a free-kick deflection from the top of the box.
Vijith Shetty tapped in after Bashiru Abbas did the spadework to make it 1-1 soon on resumption and herein lay a controversy.
Assam Rifles coach Santanu Basu, critical of referee S.B. Saha, said, "my players expected the game to stop with two players lying on the ground. But the referee allowed the play to go on. It was shocking and not fair at all." There was cheer in the Assam Rifles camp when Jigdong scored again. But the lead lasted a mere six minutes when Benoy Kuruvilla's hopeful lob slipped in through goalkeeper S. Manichandra's grasp.
Assam Rifles lost its composure in the second half and conceded three more goals.
The results:Air-India 5 (Vijith Shetty 2, Benoy Kuruvilla, Bashiru Abbas, Paresh Shivalkar) bt Assam Rifles 2 (Buke Jigdong 2).
JCT 3 (Adebayo Tokunbo, Shivraj Singh, Renedy Singh) bt BSF 0. Special Correspondent