SAI begin campaign with huge win

In a completely lop-sided encounter at St Mary’s Orphanage grounds, Rafeeq slotted twice while Mannu, Uthappa and Mohan Muthanna contributed one each as a youthful SAI side crushed the seven-time Singapore Premier League champions on a relaid gravel surface.

For nearly the entire duration of their opening round robin match SRC appeared rusty, unable to control the ball on a surface they practised for the first time on Sunday.
On the other hand, SAI attacked at will, storming the rival citadel with regular intervals and leaving the rival defence in tatters.

After squandering a few easy chances in the opening ten minutes, the Bangalore side went ahead, courtesy some good stick work from Pradhan Somanna in the 17th minute.
The medio dribbled from the left, before turning around and reverse flicking the ball to Manu who deflected the ball in.

Six minutes later, Uthappa thundered in a penalty corner as SAI went into breather with a 2-0 cushion.  Four minutes into the second half (34th minute), Rafeeq scored his first goal from a penalty corner. Pradhan Somanna sold the ball from the edge of the circle to Rafeeq, who foxed SRC custodian Jagjit Singh in drawing him completely forward before flicking it into the goal.

Six minutes later Muthanna made it 4-0 after dribbling past two SRC players from the left to neatly smash it past Jagjit. Rafeeq then wrapped up a commanding victory for SAI two minutes from time.

In a bid to boost SRC, former India captain Dhanraj Pillay is expected to join Jude Felix in the playing line-up on Tuesday.

Earlier in the, Madras Engineering Group thumped BEML Sports Club 4-1 while SRC Ladies team edged Bangalore’s Rangers 1-0 in an exhibition match.

Results: Men: MEG: 4 (Dinesh Tirkey 2nd, 22nd, Poovana 40th, Sagayan 59th) bt BEML Sports Club: 1 (Ramesh HT 19th).
Women: SRC: 1 bt Rangers: 0.

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