East Bengal, Lajong in Fed Cup semis

September 21st, 2011 - 11:48 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata/Pune, Sep 21 (IANS) Title holders East Bengal and Shillong Lajong Football Club carved out similar 1-0 wins to move into the semifinals of the 33rd Federation Cup football tournament Wednesday.

After an unproductive first half, striker Robin Singh scored the all-important goal for East Bengal in the 68th minute of the Group C match at Kolkata’s Salt Lake Stadium.

In Group A, Lajong rode on John Meyongar’s 43rd-minute strike to put it across state rivals Royal Wahingdoh in Pune’s Balewadi Sports Complex.

East Bengal finished their engagements with seven points from three matches while Dempo remained on three points from the same number of outings.

Both teams went in the attack mode from the kick-off giving the sparse crowd at the galleries their money’s worth.

East Bengal came close to scoring in the 12th minute but Reisangmi Vashum’s long-ranger was narrowly off-target.

Soon after, Dempo’s Ranti Martin failed to slot it in off a Clifford Miranda cross.

East Bengal, who are eyeing a hat-trick of Fed Cup titles, broke the goalless deadlock as Robin, receiving a pass from Australian forward Tolgay Ozbey, went past the rival goalkeeper to bulge the net.

Dempo’s best chance came in the 90th minute when they received an indirect free-kick inside the penalty box but failed to capitalise on it.

After their victory over Wahingdoh, Lajong have to wait for the next group match between Goa’s Churchill Brothers and Mohun Bagan. While victory would have carried Churchill to the last four, Mohun Bagan made Lajong a big favour by holding the Goans 2-2.

Both Lajong and Wahingdoh finished their engagements on 6 points but Lajong went through to semis on head-to-head count.

Needing just a draw to make it to the semis, Wahingdoh went on the offensive from the opening minute, but failed to utilise the chances which came their way.

Lajong could have won by a better margin had not striker Iyikwobe Chizoza muffed up a penalty in the 63rd minute. The spot kick was awarded after John was brought down in the box by Kareem Nurian, who gto marching orders.

Wahingdoh came closest to scoring in the 77th minute, but Chenco failed to beat rival custodian Lalthuammawia Ralte in a one-on-one.

Playing at the same venue, Bagan came back from behind to hold Churchill.

Henri Arnaud put Churchill ahead in the 23rd minute, but Bagan seized the initiative with two goals within a span of three minutes. First Jose Ramirrez Baretto headed home Jewel Raja’s corner in the 41st minute and then Sunil Chhetri blasted it home a minute before the interval.

Changing over, Henri got his second goal in the 59th minute.

Churchill finished on 4 points from 3 matches while Bagan ended their campaign on one point.

Meanwhile in an another Group C encounter Mohammedan Sporting finished goalless with Pune FC at the Salt Lake Stadium.

Pune FC took the group’s second place with 4 points from three matches while Sporting remained at the bottom with two points less.

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