Setback to ASC's title hopes

Suresh Kumars wards drop crucial points after draw with MEG

 Army Service Corps (ASC) suffered a blow in their title quest as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Madras Engineer Group (MEG) 1-1 in the BDFA Super Division League at the Bangalore Football Stadium here on Wednesday.

In fact, an injury-time strike by Ramachandran spared ASC’s blushes after they fell behind to a goal by Nguernilal Hmar on the hour mark. ASC have 15 points from eight matches, four behind leaders Hindustan Aeronautics Sports Club in the 11-team league. MEG, meanwhile, moved up to 13 points from eight games.

The Sappers started off aggressively and a cross by Nguernilal was headed over by Bar John in the second minute. ASC’s first real chance was foiled by MEG custodian Sharat Narayan as he produced a fine save off a header by Arunjeet in the 11th minute.

With both teams pressing hard to break the deadlock, Ramachandran missed an opportunity as he blasted an angular volley wide from close range in the 30th minute.

ASC enjoyed a brief spell of dominance as Nitesh shot straight at the keeper from inside the area in the 32nd minute. Couple of minutes later, Ramachandran failed to hit the target off a corner-kick.

ASC midfielder A Saikh’s cross from the left flank hit the woodwork and the rebound was shot wide by Jotin Singh as the teams went into the break on level terms.

MEG took the lead in the 60th minute after Nguernilal was felled by Sailo on the edge of the area. The former’s powerful free-kick beat Shantanu Kar hands down in the ASC goal.

ASC’s Sreejith was denied in the 71st minute with MEG defender Suman Kumar making a brilliant goal-line clearance.

MEG were forced to bring on substitute goalkeeper Amit Shaw after Sharat suffered an injury in the second minute of stoppage time. Two minutes later, Ramachandran came up with a superb angular volley from the area to save one point.

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