Ramu dazzles as MEG edge HASC

MEG goalkeeper Malay Paul thwarts an attempt by HASC’s Fredrick (left) during their clash in the Puttaiah Memorial Football tournament in Bangalore on Thursday. DH Photo

Seven minutes before the final whistle and the match seemingly cruising towards a high-scoring draw, substitute Lokeshwar Singh slammed the ball past HASC custodian Amar Deb to hand MEG full three points.

The win helped Sappers, who won all four matches, to emerge as leaders of the group with 12 points while HASC finished with nine points.

The free-flowing high-octane Group A match had all the ingredients of a edge-of-the seat thriller that saw wonderful exchange of passes interwoven with smart set-pieces and pin-point finishing.

MEG made a terrific start against the defending champions, going 2-0 up inside seven minutes. Captain Shiyad had a hand in first two goals. In the third minute, an unmarked Thapa collected Shiyad’s throw-in at the edge of the box and relayed it to Ramu, who headed in from close-range for the opening goal.

Neat header

Four minutes later, Shiyad took another long throw from the right. HASC’s Jai Kumar’s miscued kick went straight to Shiyad who floated it back into the box. Ramu found the target with a neat header.

Aircraftmen soon regained composure and created a flurry of chances but failed to score. HASC finally got one back in the 27th minute when Jotin Singh rose high to head in a free kick from skipper Xavier Vijay Kumar.

Aircraftmen didn’t waited long for the equaliser as four minutes later Murali scored from a penalty kick. Vijay Kumar pointed to the spot after HASC’s Frederick was brought down by MEG’s Suman.

After the break, the Aircraftmen twice squandered easy chances. However, it was Sappers who took the lead as Ramu powered a right-footer past Deb in the 73rd minute to go ahead 3-2.

In the 81st minute, HASC again restored parity in the match before Lokeshwar sealed the issue in favour of MEG. In the day’s other match, Enian struck in the 10th minute as CIL edged RWF 1-0.

On Friday, Karnataka State Police will take on BEML while Sports Authority of India will play BEL Sports Club in Group B. KSP need just a draw to qualify for the semifinals while SAI need to win by a big margin and hope KSP lose to BEML.

Semifinals postponed

Meanwhile, the semifinals and final matches of the tournament scheduled from November 1 to 3 have been postponed owing to the foundation stone laying ceremony for the FIFA Goal Project II on Nov 4. The semifinals will now be played on Nov 6 and 7, followed by the final on Nov 8.

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