JCT rallied from a goal down to score thrice and tame Sporting Clube de Goa 3-1 in the Group B quarter-final league match of the Osian's 121st Durand Cup in New Delhi on Thursday.
With the second edition of the I-League round the corner, JCT showed they have come to terms with life after Sunil Chhetri and Renedy Singh and the convincing 3-1 win saw them top the group after Air India were held goalless by Tata Football Academy (TFA) in an earlier match.
JCT coach Sukhwinder Singh has managed to retain most of the players from last season and despite going down early at the Ambedkar Stadium, the team came back strongly to ensure victory.
A goalkeeping error from Karanjit Singh saw Lavino Fernandes place the ball into an empty net in the 12th minute as the Goan side surged ahead.
This was 10 minutes after Sporting Clube de Goa custodian Felix D'Souza had failed to collect Eduardo Escobar's free-kick and handed Baldeep Singh with the simplest of chances to prod home. Baldeep, however, squandered the gilt-edged opportunity as his shot found the horizontal.
He though made amends in the 75th minute, latching on to a cross from Escobar to provide JCT's third goal. This was after Baljit Sahni had equalised in the 23rd minute. Cutting inside from the left flank, Sahni fired a right-footer to the far corner.
Brazilian import Escobar was provider for the second goal six minutes later. This time it was Pawan Kumar who found the net to double JCT's lead.
Despite the hot and humid conditions, JCT managed to keep the tempo going, playing short passes and using the flanks to good effect. They showed lot of mobility once inside the opposition half.
However, despite the presence of India defender Anwar Ali, JCT's backline looked vulnerable. Freddy Mascarenhas got through on a few occasions and it was partly due to the striker's inability and partly due to Karanjit's alertness that JCT did not concede another goal.
Sporting Clube de Goa struggled to keep pace with JCT and their free-flowing game was not to be seen.
Earlier, Air India came close on a number of occasions but could not find the target in another Group B quarter-final league match. Struggling to come to terms with the heat and humidity, Air India looked jaded and could not get the midfield going.
TFA's youngsters took advantage of that and pressed hard but failed to complete the job once they neared the penetrative zone.