ONGC clinch berth in top division

Sporting bow out of contention

ONGC clinch berth in top division

ONGC players celebrate their entry into the I-League proper after beating SESA 2-0 in a sixth round match of the I-League Second Division on Friday. DH PHOTO

Badmas Babatunde and Tarif Ahmed slotted home in the first half as the Mumbai outfit, as focussed as they have been throughout the tournament, outplayed SESA at the Bangalore Football stadium.

ONGC thus lifted themselves to an unassailable 16 points from six matches, with local hope Hindustan Aeronautics Sports Club and Vasco in second and third on 15 and 12 respectively with a round still to play.

“This is the culmination of all the hard work,” said an ecstatic coach Sujit Chakraborty, referring to the two-month long camp at Surat before the group phase began. “A lot of planning went in and the boys implemented it magnificently. All areas of the game were studied and the team was determined to succeed after three unsuccessful attempts,” added Chakraborty, whose contract expired at the end of April.

ONGC did look jittery soon after kick-off following a promising SESA foray, but it was one of only a few attempts the Goans managed against a side that played intelligently. After going 2-0 up within 18 minutes, ONGC mixed caution and aggression in toying with SESA, who failed to exert any kind of pressure.

Babatunde signalled ONGC’s intentions when he converted from a fine passage of play in the fifth minute. Former India international Jatin Bisht released from the centre to A Naresh on the left, who slipped the ball to Babatunde, the Nigerian converting easily to take his tally to five.

 Tarif killed the contest in the 18th minute. The striker outmuscled defender Nicolau Colaco from the edge of the 18-yard box, gently side-footing the ball into the net.

ONGC then took full control, concentrating on keeping possession and attacking only sporadically. SESA’s attempt to break their rhythm in the second half before no fruit as the game petered out into a tame affair, the final whistle triggering ONGC celebrations.
Sporting out

Pre-tournament favourites Mohammedan Sporting crashed out following a 1-1 draw against Malabar United.

Enyinnaya Loveday struck for Malabar in the eight minute before Nilendra Dewan equalised for Sporting in 56th-minute.

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