Baldeep's strike propels United SC; Mohammedans win

A second-half strike from Baldeep Singh saw United SC beat Pune FC 1-0 in a Group A encounter of the 35th Federation Cup at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here on Friday. It was a must-win game for both sides but in the end the Kolkata side triumphed to remain in contention for a semifinal place.

The first half saw very little goalmouth action as neither side created too many openings. United SC’s best chance of the half fell to Dhananchandra Singh who couldn’t hit the target despite getting a free header from an Eric Brown cross.

Mike Snoei replaced James Meyer with Gabriel Fernandes at the interval but that substitution didn’t change Pune’s fortunes as they struggled to create chances from open play. United SC then suffered a blow as Ranti Martins went off with an injury and was replaced by Baldeep Singh.

The deadlock was finally broken by United SC when Eric Brown went past Othallo Tabia on the left and found Baldeep (71st), who scored past Amrinder. 

Mohammedans triumph

In Manjeri, second-half goals from Josimar da Silva (75th) and substitute Rakesh Masih (90+2) kept alive Mohammedan Sporting’s semifinal hopes as they downed lowly Bhawanipore FC by two goals in a Group D match. Josimar scored off a Manish Maithani’s corner after Nabi fed the ball for the Brazilian inside the six-yard area.Sporting doubled their lead deep into stoppage time as substitute Rakesh Masih sent home a splendid left-footed long ranger that dipped into the netMohammedan Sporting have three points from two matches while Bhawanipore are out of the competition having failed to register a win in their two outings. Meanwhile I-League leaders Bengaluru FC, who defeated Sporting Clube de Goa 5-3 in their opening encounter, take on Rangdajied United on the morrow. 

Dudu to join Salgaocar

Salgaocar, who struggled to keep their fine start in the I-League after the exit of striker Claude Gnakpa, has now roped in Dudu Omagbemi to strengthen their strike force during the second phase of the I-League in February.

Thus Salgaocar FC, who lost their last five matches to place themselves fifth at the end of the first leg of the I-League, completes their foreign players quota after signing Dudu who is set to arrive in Goa on January 25. “Dudu International Transfer Certificate (ITC) will arrive tomorrow but is set to arrive in Goa on 25th January but will not play for the Federation Cup,” stated Salgaocar’s team manager Rahul Rodrigues.

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