Durand Cup: JCT beat Sporting Clube; Air India held by TFA(Superseding earlier story)

August 28th, 2008 - 9:17 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 28 (IANS) JCT started their Durand Cup campaign with a 3-1 win over Sporting Clube de Goa while TFA colts maintained their impressive run with a barren draw against Air India on the first day of the quarterfinal league stage here Thursday.Goals from Baljeet Sahni (24th), Pawan Kumar (30th) and Baldeep Singh (76th) helped JCT take the top spot in Group II. Lavino Fernandes scored the lone goal for the Goan outfit, which is now lying at the second spot in the group.

The absence of star striker Sunil Chettri and experienced medio Renedy Singh, who signed for East Bengal this season, didn’t reflect in JCT’s game. Despite being pushed on the backfoot in the 12th minute, the Punjab team did well to win the match convincingly.

Before the start of the match JCT coach Sukhwinder Singh assured that he had enough backup to fill in for Chettri and Renedy and he was proved right.

Sporting Clube stunned JCT in the 12th minute with Lavino guiding the ball from close ranges off goalkeeper Karanjit Singh’s rebound. JCT started making its moves with Brazilian striker Eduardo Da Silva Escobar but the flashy forward hardly had any power in his shots to threaten goalkeeper Felix D’Souza.

The Brazilian with his deft touches looked impressive and engineered two scoring moves. Escobar also came close to score once when he was completely unmarked in the box in the 15th minute but his right footer hardly had any power.

Nine minutes later JCT found the equaliser when Baljeet shot on the turn from the top edge of the box to stun the Sporting Clube defence.

The goal dented the Goan outfit’s hopes and six minutes later, JCT broke the deadlock when Escobar’s measured cross found an unmarked Pawan, who slid the ball in to bring back smiles in the JCT camp.

After squandering the lead, Sporting Clube tried to come back into the match with Freedy Mascarenhas and Micky Fernandes trying to open up the JCT defence. But the presence of imposing defender Anwar did not help their cause.

Even after the breather, JCT didn’t go defensive and tried to extend the lead. The third goal came from Baldeep Singh, who again found himself clear off Escobar’s center, and shot past a helpless Felix to make matters worse for the 2005 finalists.

Earlier in the day, Tata Football Academy (TFA) left from where they started in the pre-quarters as they held Air India in a goalless draw.

After being frustrated in the first half, Air India played impressively in the second half with substitute Subhash Singh creating some flutters in the TFA defence but failed to score.

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