Air India, United SC in Shield semifinals
Kolkata: United SC stunned fancied East Bengal 4-2 in a group A encounter to enter the semifinals of the 114th IFA Shield football tournament on Saturday.
In another match, Pune FC prevailed over Senegal’s AS Douanes 2-0 to enable Air India reach the last four from group D. The airmen will take on Churchill Brothers Tuesday for a place in the Sept 12 final.
Pune FC struck through Japanese Izumi Arata and Je Je Lalpekhlua to cause the exit of the unimpressive Senegalese from the tournament.
The Indian club went into the lead at the stroke of half hour when a through pass from Shanmugam Venkatesh was finished off by Arata with a diagonal right footer at the rain-drenched Mohun Bagan ground.
Minutes later, the scoreline became 2-0 as Lalpekhlua scored with a firm 25 yarder.
The two sides dished out a mediocre fare in soggy ground conditions. The Africans exhibited some good one-touch moves by operating mainly from the right flank, but poor finishing proved their undoing.
The ground condition deteriorated in the second session, and the only chance came to the winners, but Arata missed in a one-to-one situation.
Air India topped the group with four points, while Pune F.C. got three points. The Senegalese logged only one point.
In the other game at Vidyasagar stadium in Barasat, United took the lead through Shylo Malswamtluanga in the 12th minute, before Parveen Kumar doubled the lead eight minutes later as the East Bengal defence put up a pathetic show..
Down 0-2, East Bengal tried to up the ante and struck through Riston Rodrigues and Subhash Singh in the 27th and 44th minuts respectively to bring his team on even keel.
However, United yet again seized the lead in the 75th minute with Malswamtluanga finding the target, before Josimar da Silva Martins increased the margin in injury time.
In the final group standings, both United S.C. and Tata Football Academy got four points, but the former reached the semi final for scoring more number of goals. East Bengal put up one of their worst performances in the tournament to take the wooden spoon by losing both their matches.