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Salgaocar edge out JCT 2-1, to play Mahindra in Durand Cup semis

New Delhi, Nov 4 (UNI) Salgaocar survived late onslaughts from Jagajit Cotton Textiles to emerge 2-1 winners and set up a semi-final clash with Mahindra United in the 120th Osian's Durand Cup football tournament here today.

In a day which saw contrasting football in the two matches played, Salgaocar came out unscathed in a fast-paced edge-of- the-seat quarter-final tie while in a dull and drab match, Mahindra shot out Sporting Clube de Goa 5-3 in the penalty shootout after both the sides were locked goalless in the regular and extra times.

For Salgaocar, Anil Kumar (11th) and Shylo Malswamtlunga (31st) scored while Sunil Chhetri reduced the margin for JCT in the 46th minute.

In the Salgoacar-JCT match, Salgaocar were the better side in the first half but the Punjab side turned the heat in the second session but failed to find the equiliser.

With JCT's loss, both the winners and runners-up teams of the last edition had crashed out of the tournament.

Defending champions Dempo were stunned by Air India 2-1 yesterday.

Salgaocar began with a bang in the match and surged ahead from a combination of skipper Rocus Lamare, Felix Chimaokwu and Anil Kumar.

Lamare ran down the left flank and fed Felix who, in turn, sent a low cross from the left which beat the goalkeeper and Anil was at the right position to slam the ball into the empty net (1-0).

Salgaocar doubled the lead at the half hour mark from a one on one between Lamare and Malswamtlunga and the latter's left footer crashed into the net after hitting the inside of the left upright.

JCT's first real chance came in the 29th minute, but Eduardo da Silva's header was kicked out by Malswamtlunga from the goaline.

Next minute, a rasping shot by Shivraj Singh hit the right post of Salgaocar goal and came back to play.

The Punajb side was, however, rewarded for their persistent attack and star India striker Sunil Chhetri outjumped Salgaocar goalkeeper Marcus Basumatari to nod the ball home in the added time of the first half (2-1).

The second half belonged to JCT who threatened the Salgaocar citadel time and again with Chhetri and da Silva leading the charge and midfielder Marcos Pereira supporting the duo but failed to score the equiliser though they came close to do it at least on two occasions.

One such chance came in the 68th minute and da Silva's right-footed volley from top of box was right on target but an air-borne Salgaocar goalkeeper tipped it over for a corner.

Few minutes later, Chhetri failed to collect a Baljit Sahni cross when he was all alone in front of Salgaocar goal.

JCT also got a few corners in the last 15 minutes and a free kick from just outside the box but each time, Salagaocar citadel remained intact.

Earlier, Mahindar United held on to their nerves to prevail over Sporting Club de Goa 5-3 in the tie-breaker in a dull and drab quarter-final match after regulation and extra times failed to produce any goal.

The two sides were equally matched in the first session though Sporting got more openings.

But, Mahindra could have taken the lead in the 24th minute had Sporting goalkeeper Luis Barreto not made a brilliant diving save of a Yusuf Yakubu shot from the D circle.

Sporting got half chances in the 21st and 37th minutes, but Olushola Ogundare missed the target by inches each time.

Mahindra's Yakubu was denied by the upright 13 minutes into the second half though Sporting were clearly the better side in the second session with more raids but without having many clear looks at the rival goal.

Sporting were also denied by the upright just three minutes after the Yakubu effort with Micky Fernandes' right footer hit the right post.

No goal came in the extra time also which saw Mahindra bringing in Subhasish Roy Choudhury in place of captain and India goalkeeper Sandip Nandi for the tie-breaker.

In the shootout, all Mahindra penalty takers -- NP Pradeep, Manjit Singh, Harpreet Singh, Mohammad Rafi and Yusuf Yakubu -- found the target.

For Sporting, Bonface Ambani, Micky Fernandes and Bibiano Fernandes scored while N Singh failed in his effort.

In the first semi-final tomorrow, Churchill Brothers will take on Air India while in the second semi-final, Salgaocar will play Mahindra United.


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Story first published: Sunday, November 4, 2007, 19:36 [IST]
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