Tuesday, June 25, 2024
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Air India stun Salgaocar 3-1

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Pune: Hosts Air India inflicted an upset 3-1 defeat on defending champions Salgaocar Sports Club while Prayag United rode on a late strike by Shankar Oraon to stop Churchill Brothers’s winning run during the third round I-League matches played at Pune and Kolkata respectively on Tuesday.

Mandeep Singh scored twice for the Airmen in the 21st and 24th minute before Salgaocar’s Ryuji Seoka minimised the lead in the 36th minute. Muhammad Shafi’s second half strike sealed the deal for the hosts.

The Mumbai side, who lost their two previous games, opened their account with three points while also maintaining their unbeaten record against the Goan giants in the last three seasons of the I-League.

Salgaocar, who slumped to their second defeat in three games, have three points from three matches.

Meanwhile, aiming for a hat-trick of wins, the Goan heavyweights Salgaocar took a 15th minute lead with a Lalrindika Ralte strike as the visitors put the local challengers under tremendous pressure with an all-out attack in the first-half.

But Churchill failed to add to their tally as United SC dished out an improved display after the break, resulting in a fine goal by Oraon in the 85th minute.

It was United SC’s third draw from as many matches to log three points, while Churchill Brothers have seven points after their end to a two-match winning run.

In a repeat of this year’s Durand Cup final that the Goans won via penalty shootout against the 2010 champions, Churchill started on an aggressive note with India international Steven Dias spearheading the mid-field action. But it was a shoddy display and poor coordination by United SC defence that helped Churchill take the lead.

United SC defender Bello Rasaq failed to clear a loose ball from Henry Antchouet as Ralte took the shot which should have been cleared by goalkeeper Abhijit Mondal. (PTI)

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