Salgaocar, Pune off to winning start

In the second group-B league at Siliguri, Churchill Brothers gave Mohun Bagan a lesson in attacking football but the latter managed to escape with a goalless draw

AGENCIES

JAMSHEDPUR/SILIGURI: Salgaocar Football Club started their Federation Cup campaign on a positive note by getting the better of big spenders Prayag United SC 1-0 in their Group D engagement at the JRD Tata Sports Complex on Thursday.

Anthony D’Souza scored the only goal for the defending champions in the 64th minute. With this match Salgaocar have three points while United SC return empty handed.

After a goalless first half, United SC could have taken the lead early on after the breather. But Ranty Martins bungled from close range. For Salgaocar though D’Souza made the most of a poor clearance in the 64th minute.

While Salgaocar played in a fluid 4-3-3 formation, United SC chose to stick to the traditional 4-4-2 system deploying Costa Rican World Cupper Carlos Hernandez up front with goal-machine Ranty Martins who put pen to paper for the men in purple this season from Dempo.

Karim Bencherifa chose to play new arrival Sean Rooney as the centre forward with Milagres Gonsalves and Anthony S’Souza supporting him from both the flanks.

In a first half with very little goalmouth action, Prayag United got a half chance in the 10th minute when Hernandez’s effort effected a diving save from Salgaocar custodian Karanjit Singh. India’s No 1 goalkeepeer Subrata Pal was in action minutes later saving a Rooney strike with his fingertips.

In another match, Pune FC edged past first-timers United Sikkim by a solitary goal to log all three points in their first match of the Federation Cup here at the Keenan Stadium, Thursday.

Striker Jeje Lalpekhlua scored for Pune in the second half from a counter attack.

The first half was goalless with very little opportunities for both the teams. The deadlock though was broken early in the second half as Jeje prodded home in the 51st minute.

Pune next play Prayag United while United Sikkim lock horns with Salgaocar. Mohammedan Sporting continued from where it had left in the qualifiers to down Durand Cup champions Air India by a lone goal in the first group B league match at Siliguri’s Kanchanjungha Stadium on Thursday.

The Kolkata side could well have won by a bigger margin but for the sequences of misses that kept its winning margin to minimum.

A barren first half was all about the misses committed by the Mohammedan Sporting strikers, who could only produce half-hearted efforts to let go the opportunities. Midfielder Mohammad Mukhtar brought his goal-poaching skills to a good effect to produce the only goal for Mohammedan Sporting after the break, in the 54th minute.

Today’s Fixtures: Group A: Pailan Arrows vs Mumbai FC; Dempo vs Shillong Lajong. Group C: ONGC FC vs Kalighat MS FC; Sporting Clube vs East Bengal.