HASC put it past Chirag for first win

Meitei, Hamza on target for Aircraftmen

The victory that has remained elusive finally arrived for the battered Hindustan Aeronautics Sports Club as they downed Chirag Kerala 2-0 in a 17th round I-League fixture here on Saturday.

Having logged a dismal three points from their previous 16 matches, the Aircraftmen doubled their tally, thanks to a goal apiece from Malemngamba Meetei and Jagaba Hamza at a floodlit Jawaharlal Nehru stadium.

Meitei put the Aircraftmen ahead in the seventh minute before out-of-form striker Hamza ended his goal drought a minute from time.

Although they still occupy the bottom slot in the league standings, HASC increased their points tally to six while Chirag are at 12th with 11 with a game in hand.

In Shillong, Pune FC came from behind to hold Shillong Lajong 1-1 at the latter’s turf in a keenly contested match. It was Lajong FC who broke the ice with local favourite Seikhohou Tuboi scoring in the fifth minute. Pune FC fought back and equalised in the 35th minute through a penalty when Lallawmzuala was called for an handball offence inside the box. At the Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata, local challengers United Sports Club squandered points as they settled for a 2-2 draw against 10-men Sporting Clube de Goa in their return-leg fixture.

Sporting drew first blood when Ogba Kalu Nnanna put the team ahead in the 30th minute. But the home team bounced back in style with second-half goals from James Singh (50th) and Bello Rasaq (53rd) to take a 2-1 lead.

There were more misery in store for the Goans, who were reduced to 10 players minutes after conceding the lead, when Jovel Martins earned his second yellow to be sent off. But just when Sanjoy Sen’s wards were heading towards three points, Sudanese recruit James Moga restored parity with an 87th-minute goal.

In Pune, Air India notched up a solitary first half goal victory over city rivals Mumbai FC at the Balewadi Sports Complex ground.

The victory, their seventh, helped boost the airmen’s point tally to 24 and keep them in the ninth spot while Mumbai FC occupied the 11th spot with 14 points after suffering their 11th defeat. Gadkari scored the match-winner in the fifth minute of the game to provide AI with their first win over their Mumbai city rivals in six encounters.

Salgaocar face Dempo

Defending champions Salgaocar’s fine run of six wins in seven matches will be under threat as they meet arch-rivals Dempo Sports Club in the Goa derby at the Nehru stadium in Fatorda on Sunday. Dempo scored a solitary goal victory in the opening game of the I-League and had looked the better team of the two since the start of the competition. However, Salgaocar have been the team to beat for the last seven matches and have collected more points than any other team in the competition.

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