Saturday, May 1, 2010

Jotin’s strike helps HAL to start on a winning note

City giant HAL survived several scares but held firm and finally ended on a winning note against Malabar United in the opening day of the I-League 2nd division final round. In the first match of the day, Vasco, Goa defeated their state team Sesa Football Academy 2-1.

It was HAL minus their three ever dependable players playing today - strikers Frederick Okwagbe and Xavier Vijaykumar out due to two yellow cards and Bimal Minz out due to a marching order the last match. Cards from the qualifying round were carried over to the final round, alright!

The match started on a breezy note with Malabar earning a corner in the first minute of the match. Few minutes later it was HAL taking corner from the other end. However, none of the team could score a goal. HAL who looked weak on paper was on an attacking spree during that time. Mid-fielder Murali twice failed to connect header in 7th and 11th minute. Also, Sathish Kumar’s (senior) long ranger in 16th and 21st minute failed to create any opening for HAL. Meanwhile Sathish Kumar (junior) made some nice moves from the middle.

When everyone thought that the match would go goalless during the lemon-break, Jotin Singh did the trick much to the delight of the crowd. Ricky Joy floated a nifty cross to the box from the right flank, Jotin did the rest with an accurate header.

HAL had the lady luck smiling on them, surely! In the second half, Malabar United skipper Jacken Sebastian came close to scoring several times, however, their effort was thwarted most of the time by the woodwork.

HAL’s defense looked tad short in communication and Malabar started putting pressure. A complete hara-kiri by the HAL defense almost earned the equalizer for Malabar in the 68th minute. Femi’s feeble header was taken by Javed, meanwhile keeper Deb left the goal and missed the flight, the goal was wide open, however, the ball hit the far post, and was inching towards the goal, finally Jai Kumar cleared ball from the goal-line.

Sitting out for the maximum time, foreigner Loveday was brought in at the dying minutes of the game, however, he too could not change the course of the match.

Result:
  • Vasco 2 (Biju Kumar-75', Joy Ferdao-86') beat Sesa Football Academy 1 (Lesly Fernandes-40')
  • HAL 1 (Jotin Singh-45+1’) beat Malabar United 0

Saturdays match:
  • Mohammedan Sporting Club versus ONGC, 2 pm
  • NISA, Manipur versus Oil India, 4 pm