Aircraftmen begin on winning note

HASC’s Malemngamba Meitei (left) scores past SAI goalkeeper Jayanth Kumar in the Super Division football league at the Bangalore Football stadium on Monday. DH photo

Sans charismatic midfielder Xavier Vijay Kumar and after a long I-League campaign, HASC seemed out of sorts for most part of the encounter.

The scoreline doesn’t do justice to the all-out display from a talented SAI team, who were punished for their defensive errors. The Aircraftmen got off to dream start as they went ahead in the fifth minute through JA Hamza, who beat SAI custodian Jayanth Kumar with a powerful right-footer from the right.

For a brief period after the HASC goal, it seemed as if SAI had the measure of their fancied opponents. The Hosteliers equalised through Abrar who, after intercepting a pass from HASC’s James Singh, side-stepped two defenders and placed the ball to the left of HASC goalkeeper Rintu Mallick in the 18th minute.

SAI kept their rivals on their toes from then on and that period also saw HASC coach M Muralidharan replacing gloveman Rintu, who seeemed to have hurt his right shoulder when making a diving save to thwart Sreedhar, with P Pramod.

HASC, however, took control of the match two minutes before the end of first half when RC Prakash restored their lead with a right-footer from the top of the box.

Like in the first half, HASC’s strategy to up the tempo bore fruit three minutes into the second half with Malemngamba Meitei slotting home a Hamza pass from the right.
Sitting pretty on a two-goal cushion, HASC went into passing mode and seemed to relax a bit, but there was time enough for Rajendra Prasad to rounded off the scoring in the 88th minute.

Other result: Students Union: 3 (Ar­un 6th, John 40th, 47th) bt AGORC: 0.

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