Thoudam Singh's superb hat-trick opened the semi-finals door for Sporting Clube de Goa, while JCT maintained a clean slate, edging out Air India by a solitary goal, in the Osian's 121st Durand Cup football tournament at the Ambedkar Stadium in Delhi on Monday.
Sporting Clube de Goa blanked Tata Football Academy 3-0 in a Group B quarter-final encounter to finish behind JCT, who completed their league engagements with an all-win record following a 1-0 triumph over Air India in the other match.
For the millmen, Baldeep Singh senior scored the winner with a thundering right-footer from 30 yards in the 71st minute.
Thoudam opened his account with a deft placement in the 39th minute and followed it up with a gentle tap past TFA goalkeeper Jagroop Singh in the 58th. He completed his tally with a finish at the first post nine minutes later.
The team from Goa missed sitters by the dozen as they toyed with the TFA defence and forced them on the back foot from the start. But inept finishing and Jagroop's brilliant keeping put a cap on the number of goals.
Sporting Clube were better organised on the day, using the flanks to good effect. They showed greater mobility once inside the opposition half and pushed more men forward.
JCT, already assured of a semi-final berth, took it easy against Air India, for whom there was only pride at stake. JCT coach Sukhwinder Singh rested prolific Brazilian striker Eduardo Escobar, bringing in youngster Pawan Kumar. The Chandigarh Football Academy graduate showed he has the pace to trouble the opposition defence but needs to fine-tune his finishing.