Last year’s finalist Mohammedan Sporting became the first team to confirm a quarterfinal berth in the 131st Durand Cup football, as it prevailed over Indian Air Force 2-0 in a Group-A league match at the Kishore Bharati Stadium here on Saturday. Ousmane Ndiaye and Rahul Paswan found the target once each towards the end of the two halves to secure the win for the home side.
This was the third successive for Mohammedan Sporting,which tallied nine points to ensure a quarterfinal berth. Bengaluru FC (six points from two matches), Jamshedpur (three from three) and FC Goa (three from three) are next in line. Indian Air Force (IAF) has lost all its three matches to be at the bottom of the current standings.
Mohammedan Sporting controlled the proceedings from the start against a defensive IAF, which put extra men in its own half looking to thwart the opponent. Ousmane broke the deadlock in the 33rd minute when he nodded home a provision from Pritam Singh following a corner.
Sporting tried to double the lead after the break but its efforts were denied by the poor marksmanship of its own attackers. Rahul Paswan, who came in as a second-half substitute, finally fetched the second goal in the 87th minute with a nice effort.
Aimen’s brace helps Kerala Blasters to 3-0 win over NorthEast United
Mohammed Aimen’s brilliant brace helped Kerala Blasters beat North East United 3-0 in a Group D match and record its first win in the Durand Cup football tournament at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati on Saturday.
Aimen provided the breakthrough in the 28 th minute, while Muhammad Ajsal doubled the lead in the 55 th minute. Aimen again found the mark in the 90 th minute as Blasters displayed a dominating performance.
North East put early pressure on the Blasters goal but the yellow shirts defended well and launched some quick counterattacks.
One such counterattack earned Blasters the lead. Ajsal, challenged by a defender inside the area, sent it back to an advancing Gourav Kankonkar, who witnessed his attempt getting blocked. Aimen, posted on the left, controlled the rebound with his left foot and shot home with his right to put Blasters ahead.
Good coordination upfront fetched Blasters its second goal after the restart. Mohammed Azhar received a ball on the right side and supplied Ajsal to complete the move.
Amid occasional attacks from the home side, Blasters looked to improve its goal difference in the tournament. It did so when Aimen, assisted by his twin brother Azhar, swerved to beat goalkeeper Jackson Singh and achieve his brace in the closing minutes.
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