Malabar United stay in the hunt

Football I-League II Division:HASC, BEML, SBT too remain in reckoning for two second-phase berths

Malabar United stay in the hunt

KEEN TUSSLE: SBT’s Mohammed Harris (right) tackles Firoz K of Malabar United in the                        I-League II Division match at the Bangalore Football stadium on Monday. DH PHOTOFirst-half goals from Firoz K (32nd) and Asif K (44th) earned Malabar three points and they are now at the top of the table with 11 points. Rinil C J (53rd) reduced the margin for SBT, who suffered their third defeat in five matches

Malabar need only a draw to advance to the next stage when they meet local favourites BEML, who have eight points in their kitty, on Thursday. BEML and their fellow Bangalore outfit Hindustan Aeronautics Sports Club (nine points) are still in contention and the latter play SBT on Wednesday.

SBT (six points) too are in the reckoning but they have to beat HASC by seven goals and hope for a Malabar win.The outcome of the match could well have been different had SBT not found the post on two occasions. To the Thiruvananthapuram team’s disappointment, Malabar scored their second goal through a counter-attack after Rinil’s right-footer from inside the penalty area had ricocheted off the post.

Powerful right-footer
Malabar’s J Sebastian collected the deflection and passed it to Firoz before the forward squared it to Asif, whose powerful right-footer from outside 18-yard box beat SBT custodian Harshal Rehman to his left.

Earlier, totally against the run of play, Malabar opened the account when Firoz beat Rehman off a free-kick from Jitesh C on the right.After the break, SBT showed more urgency and soon their efforts bore fruit.

A passing bout involving Martin John, Stijo Fernandez and Rinil ended with Rinil getting enough space to lob the ball over the onrushing Malabar goalie Pramod P.
SBT then made a flurry of attacking moves and Rakesh K almost got the equaliser but his header found the crosspiece before John’s long range drive was saved by Pramod, diving to his right.

Even after that, Sajith could have netted for SBT but his right-footer went inches wide after a pass from the right by Rinil.

Results: Group B: At Delhi: Sesa Football Academy: 7 (Israil Gurung 14th, 52nd,83rd, 89th, Gabriel Fernandes 62nd, Gagandeep Singh 65th, Jaiganesh Goltekar 78th) bt Simla Youngs Football Club: 1 (Ugochukwu 85th).
Group C: At Tinsukia: Ar-Hima Football Club: 2 (David Lathansanga 30th, Stephanfield Lanong 85th) bt Denzong Boys Football Club: 1 (Yaro Ishau 32nd).

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