Kolkata: Group leaders Tamil Nadu scored
through M Ramesh in the dying minutes to hold Delhi 1-1 and
remain on top of the table after their second quarterfinal
league match in the 64th National Football Championship for
Santosh Trophy at Yuba Bharati Krirangan.
Following a drab first 45 minutes of play in which both
the teams failed to score, Delhi went ahead in the 81st minute
through substitute David Ngaihte.
But Delhi looked complacent and their fragile defence
failed to retain their lead as Tamil Nadu took seven minutes
to equalise and end on a high.
Delhi had a similar fate in their first Group B league
match against hosts Bengal who struck late in the second half
to deny them three points.
In Group B, Tamil Nadu remain on lead with four points,
while Delhi is on the second spot with two points.
Bengal (1) and Mizoram (0) lie on the third, fourth spots
Having beaten Mizoram 2-0 in their first outing, Tamil
Nadu looked to score in the 23rd minute when PC Riju`s shot
was saved by Delhi goalkeeper Pronoy Roy.
Tamil Nadu had another chance to go up two minutes later
but TH Pathiban hit the horizontal crosspiece as both teams
took a cautious approach to see a goalless first-half.
After the changeover, Delhi came close to scoring in the
57th minute when Mohender Singh`s right footer from inside the
box was saved by Tamil Nadu goalkeeper A Arun Pradeep.
Ngaihte was brought in place of Mohinder in the 71st
minute and he went on to give Delhi the lead 10 minutes after
coming into the ground.
Following a shot pass from the right, Ngaihte beat an
off-side trap to give Delhi the lead.
But Delhi -- like in their last match against Bengal --
failed to retain the lead with Tamil Nadu stepping on the gas
towards the later half.
Ramesh, who was brought in place of CS Sabeeth in the
70th minute, scored with a curling right-footer to deny Delhi
the win as both the teams settle for one each.
The winners and runners-up of the group will battle it
out with the top two teams from Group A in the knockout
semifinals to be held on August 6.