Hamza's brace powers super BEML into final

Football: Puttaiah Memorial: Earth Movers knock holders HASC out; to meet Sappers for top honours today


The semifinal contest between two local rivals had all the ingredients of a thriller -- wonderful passes, pacy moves, good counter attacks, fiesty challenges and scintillating goals. However, the searing duo of Tiken Singh and Hamza was too hot for Aircraftmen too handle as the Earth Movers outsmarted their foes at the Bangalore Football stadium. BEML will now lock horns with MEG in Sunday’s final.

Holders HASC got off to disastrous start picking up three yellow cards -- Ricky Joy, Srikanth and Jotin Singh -- within the opening ten minutes. Unfazed, the Aircraftmen countered every attack of a charging BEML with good intensity and took the lead in the 28th minute through a Bimal Minz special after the medio’s curling half-volley from 20 yards out soared into the net.

Even before the celebrations could sink in, the Aircraftmen suffered a rude shock a minute later when their Nigerian defender Joseph Femi handled the ball inside the box.

His compatriot Alesh Shamaki then slammed it from the spot for BEML’s equaliser. On the stroke of half-time, BEML nearly took the lead after Don Bosco slotted home when custodian Amar Deb failed to hold on to an RC Prakash cross but the effort was ruled off-side.

BEML took control of proceedings after the interval as Tiken and Hamza combined well to leave the HASC defenders in a daze. While Tiken was superb down the left, the towering Hamza was untouchable in the central midfield.

Five minutes into the hour, Tiken sent a great ball from the left to Hamza who trapped it with his chest and slammed it past custodian Deb for a 2-1 lead.
Hamza struck again six minutes later after helping Tiken’s cross into the net.

Finally, it was for the creator Tiken to steal the show and he did it by dribbling past two defenders and unleashing a viciously dipping ball into the goal in the 78th minute. Fredrick scored the second HASC goal in the 88th minute but by then it was too late in the day.

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