Assam Rifles ambush Armymen
After their win over NFL club Churchill Brothers, Army Green faced the challenge of last year?s Durand Cup semifinalists, Assam Rifles, reports Arjun Sen.india Updated: Nov 14, 2006 23:55 IST
After their win over NFL club Churchill Brothers on penalties on Sunday, Army Green (AG) on Tuesday faced the challenge of last year’s Durand Cup semifinalists, Assam Rifles (AR).
Though the Army players gave it their all, and even caused panic to the AR defence on more than one occasion, scoring the equaliser after Santa Singh’s early goal for AR proved a bridge too far.
Santa’s 10th minute goal was the result of hara-kiri defending by AG. After safely latching on to an AR corner, AG ‘keeper Min Bahadur, rather inexplicably, smacked his clearance straight against one of his defenders. The ball fell kindly for Johnny Kharluki, who whipped in a cross for Santa to head AR into the lead.
Four minutes later, AG had the ball in the back of their goal when Ashok Lepcha slotted home the rebound off an Aji B free-kick. However, the goal was disallowed for offside. Minutes later, a mistake from AG defender Aji Raj allowed Johnny Kharluki and Dancing Mukhim the time and space to shoot at goal. Bahadur saved both shots.
After the break, AG came out all guns blazing and threatened the AR goal a number of times. Substitute Hassan Mondal and striker Bimal Thapa came close, but were off-target. AR were happy to soak in all the pressure and played on the counter. They even had the opportunity to seal the win, but Abel Sema saw his effort sail wide.
In the final minute of regulation time, the AG players thought they had won a penalty when Aji B was brought down inside the box. The referee, however, waved ‘play on’.
With this win, Assam Rifles have moved into Group A of the pre-quarterfinal league. The other teams in their group include Kolkata’s Mohammedan Sporting and Air India.
With such a composed performance behind them, Assam Rifles would be fancying their chances to qualify for the quarterfinal league.
Assam Rifles 1 Army Green 0
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First Published: Nov 14, 2006 23:55 IST