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Rediff.com  » Sports » JCT beat TFA 3-1, book semi-finals berth of Durand Cup

JCT beat TFA 3-1, book semi-finals berth of Durand Cup

August 30, 2008 19:13 IST

JCT became the first team to move into the semi-finals of the Osian's 121st Durand Cup with a 3-1 win over Tata Football Academy (TFA) at the Ambedkar Stadium in New Delhi on Saturday.

This was the millmen's second victory in as many matches following their 3-1 win over Sporting Clube de Goa in their first match of the Group B quarter-final league stage.

The Goan club also kept their semi-final hopes alive with a 1-0 victory over Air India in today's another match with Anthony D'Souza finding the net in the 85th minute.

Goals from Balwant Singh (21st minute), Eduardo Escobar (50th) and Baldeep Singh (66th) neutralised TFA's early domination, which resulted in a goal from Niroshon Mani in the 19th.

JCT goalkeeper Karanjit Singh missed the line of the ball following P Deepak's throw-in and Mani stabbed home from close to give TFA the lead.

JCT's reply came soon after. Escobar played the ball to an overlapping Jaspal Singh down the right and his cross to the far post was headed in by Balwant.

Balwant returned the compliment when he flicked in Daljit Singh's throw-in and Escobar did the rest at the far post. The Brazilian saw one of his efforts rebound off the vertical but JCT did not have to wait long for the insurance goal. Anwar's flick from Escobar's corner found Baldeep, who buried his left-footer to the back of the net.

TFA showed some spark in the initial minutes with Jagannath Sana testing Karanjit with a long-ranger. But they were no match for the physically superior JCT players.

That the five-time Durand Cup champions are still to get into the groove was evident at the back where Anwar and Co. were a bit rusty. It allowed TFA's youngsters to move inside the box on a couple of occasions, but failed to come good in front of goal.

"We have 20 days to prepare for the I-League after the Durand Cup gets over and we will surely iron out the deficiencies," said JCT coach Sukhwinder Singh.

In the second match of the day, a clash of heads between Air India defender Chukwuma Udofia and Micky Fernandes of Sporting Clube de Goa saw the former sustain injuries.

Chukwuma carried on with his head bandaged but for all his running and jumping, clearly looked in discomfort, missing headers and his passes finding the wrong person.

Both the teams lacked penetration and paucity of ideas made for a rather drab encounter. Barring a Gouranga Biswas header that missed the goal by a whisker in the 11th minute, Air India had very little to show for in the first session.

Sporting Clube showed some urgency towards the end and Anthony took advantage of some slack defending from Napolean Singh to chase down a long ball from the midfield to find the net five minutes from time.

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