Bangalore: Reigning champion Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. Sports Club (HAL) opened its campaign in the Super Division league with a 2-0 triumph against SAI at the Football Stadium here on Tuesday.
HAL dominated the match against an inept SAI team and the aircraftmen had enough chances to extend their margin of victory, which however were frittered away.
In the 24th minute, HAL found its mark as Murali headed in a lob deflected in by Kuttymani off a Rajendra Prasad corner-kick.
Murali's gentle header was nearly blocked by SAI goalkeeper S. Arun but the ball slipped past the gloves and rolled in to trigger celebrations in the HAL camp.
Minutes later Rajendra Prasad volleyed over the crossbar while the SAI defence back-pedalled.
In the second half, HAL surged ahead in the 52nd minute as Joshi capitalised on a goalmouth melee. SAI custodian Arun, failed to block a cross from Mohan and Joshi booted the resultant rebound in.
Later Joshi's long-ranger was fisted away by a diving Arun. The SAI goalkeeper had another tense moment as Xavier angled in a pass but Nandakumar failed to connect and with that ended HAL's hopes of stretching its margin of victory.
Earlier in the `A' division league, BWSSB and Government Press were locked in a goalless draw. Principal Correspondent