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JCT in semis after another comeback win

JCT became the first team to enter the semi-finals of the 121st Osian Durand Football Championship beating qualifiers Tata Football Academy, reports Sahil Sharma.

sports Updated: Aug 31, 2008 00:09 IST

JCT became the first team to enter the semi-finals of the 121st Osian Durand Football Championship beating qualifiers Tata Football Academy (TFA) 3-1, at the Ambedkar Stadium, in New Delhi on Saturday.

For the second time in as many matches, JCT erased a deficit to emerge winners. After Sporting Clube de Goa, it was TFA's turn to be stung. They now have six points from two matches.

TFA took the lead in the 19th minute through Niroshon Mani who got a free header to Hardeep Singh's corner-kick. JCT hit back inside a minute, Balwant Singh bringing them back into the match with another header, again from a set-piece. The rest of the half saw both teams playing cautiously.

After the break, the game's tempo picked up. JCT went ahead in the 49th minute when Balwant's little flick in the box, from a long throw, found Brazilian Eduardo da Silva Escobar who completed formalities with an easy tap-in.

The lead it seemed was just what JCT needed to move into a higher gear. Escobar was again in the thick of things when he stuck the inside of the bar in the 60th minute.

The team from Punjab sealed the game in the 66th minute when Baldeep Singh slotted home a left footer from outside the box leaving the TFA goalkeeper rooted to his spot.

"It feels great to qualify for the semi-finals as this is out first tournament in the new season. We had very little time for practice but the team is doing well. The defence needs a bit more stability but we are working on it," said JCT coach Sukhwinder Singh.

D’Souza strikes late

Earlier, the tussle for the second place hotted up with Sporting Clube de Goa defeating Air India 1-0 to get them level with Air India with three points from two games.

Anthony D'Souza broke the monotony of a dull match when he chipped home Micky Fernandes' prompt in the 85th minute.