Former champions JCT exited from the 32nd Federation Cup losing their second straight match in the quarter-final group league, to ONGC in Ludhiana on Friday.
Also on Thursday, Dempo and East Bengal notched up their second straight win to almost seal semi-final berths and Chirag United came back through Josimar’s brace to steal a point against Viva Kerala.
Like JCT, Air India too exited from the tournament being played in three venues after going down 0-2 to Pune FC for whom Reisang Pemme and Paresh Shivalkar scored.
Churchill Brothers, who thumped Viva Kerala in their opening match, were held by qualifiers Sesa Academy, the teams exchanging goals through Okolie Odafa and Leslie Fernandes inside the first quarter. At the Guru Nanak Stadium in Ludhiana, JCT, having been shocked by an India U-19 selection in the opener, upped their performance but it wasn’t good enough. F. Lalnanpuia proved to be the home team’s nemesis, beating goalkeeper Prasanta Dora once in each half.
Lalnanpuia put ONGC ahead with a superb solo effort, going past two defenders before firing past Dora. He chipped the winner late in the match and six minutes after Jaswinder Singh had given JCT a lifeline, off a pass from Ajay Singh.