JCT in Durand semi-finals, Sporting Goa on course

August 30th, 2008 - 9:27 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 30 (IANS) JCT are through to the semi-finals of the Durand Cup with a 3-1 victory over Tata Football Academy while Sporting Clube de Goa stayed on course by beating Air-India by a late solitary goal. Balwant Singh (20th), Eduardo Da Silva Escobar (50th) and Baldeep Singh (66th) scored for JCT while Niroshon Mani struck the only goal for the academy team at the Ambedkar Stadium Saturday.

For Sporting Clube de Goa, substitute Anthony D’Souza struck four minutes from the end.

It was TFA who scored first to push JCT on to the back-foot, but the Phagwara team equalised the very next minute and then their class prevailed as they scored twice more.

The TFA goal came in the 19th minute as Mani took advantage of a defensive lapse and shot past goalkeeper Karanjit Singh off a flag-kick.

JCT equaliser was a header from forward Balwant Singh, who was set-up cleverly by Brazilian Eduardo Da Silva Escobar and Jagpreet Singh.

Then on JCT pounded the TFA defence with Escobar and Balwant making good moves. Their persistence paid-off five minutes after the breather when Escobar’s stinging left-footer foxed TFA goalkeeper Jagroop Singh.

It was a much improved performance by JCT and the midfield did well to keep the strikers busy. Baldeep and Baljit Sahni combined well to put the forwards through.

Escobar made full use of the deft passes and came close to score his second goal, but his sliding right-footer skimmed the far post and went out.

The third goal came from a goalmouth melee and Baldeep sneaked in score.

A visibly happy JCT coach Sukhinder Singh said: “The team is winning despite not having played much competitive footbal for long. I have no complains.”

The coach also felt that the Durand Cup would be a good warm-up for the I-League, starting Sep 26.

“This tournament is very important for us. We didn’t get much practice for this tournament and if we do well here the boys will gain confidence ahead of the I-League,” he added.

Later in the day, Air-India and Sporting Clube de Goa played out a dull goalless first half. The only chance of the session came the Goan team’s way and Lavino Fernandes missed it.

After the change of ends, both sides looked more intent on scoring and D’Souza found the goal for the Goans.

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