KSP move into semis despite loss to BEML

Wilfred comes up with last-gasp match-winner

BEML’s RC Prakash (left) and Pradeep BV of KSP vie for possession during their Puttaiah Memorial Cup clash at the Bangalore Football stadium on Friday. DH Photo

While BEML topped Group B with 12 points after Wilfred struck a last-minute winner, the Policemen had been assured of their berth in the knockout stage even before kick-off after closest rivals Sports Authority of India crashed to a 1-2 defeat to BEL Sports Club at the Bangalore Football stadium.

The Policemen will take on Group A winners Madras Engineering Group in the first semifinal on November 6, while last year’s finalists BEML and Hindustan Aeronautics Sports Club will battle each other the following day.

With two former champions pitted against each other, the match was not short of action, providing good football for the second day running.

If BEML’s new summer recruit RC Prakash was his usual best, producing wonderful touches and passess, his younger counterpart from KSP, Kiran Kumar, received good applause for brilliant footwork in the midfield.

The Earth Movers, who have been prolific in this tournament largely due to Prakash, went ahead with a brilliant free-kick from the veteran himself. The former HASC striker blasted the ball from 25 yards, sending it rocketing past diving KSP custodian Nagendra in the 16th minute.

Within four minutes, the Policemen equalised after Kiran took possession of the ball at the edge of the box and whipped a powerful cross from the right that was headed in sharply by a charging Karthik.

Wilfred then sealed the encounter in the 90th minute when his header from a corner-kick bounced off the turf into the net. In the other match, Slan Guito struck in the 30th and 66th minutes for BEL, while Raj Kiran restored a semblance of pride for SAI in the 78.

Semifinal line-up: Nov 6: MEG vs KSP; Nov: 7: BEML vs HASC.

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