ONGC finish campaign on winning note

Football I-League II Division: Malabar United ride on Sebastians brace

ONGC finish campaign on winning note

TIMELY TACKLE: NISA goalkeeper L Prem Kumar Singh (on the ground) thwarts Tarif Ahmed of ONGC in the I-League Second Division match on Tuesday. DH PHOTO

Undefeated ONGC thus topped the league standings with 19 points from seven matches, while local outfit Hindustan Aeronautics Sports Club, who joined the Mumbai outfit in the I-League proper, finished second with 16 points.

Despite having already made the cut, coach Sujit Chakraborty fielded a strong squad and ONGC began well by swarming the NISA citadel at regular intervals. In-form Nigerian striker Badmas Babatunde hit the post thrice while Sandeep Sanga rattled the crossbar once -- all within the first 23 minutes -- as they signalled the Mumbai side’s intentions at the Bangalore Football stadium. The missed chances seemed to bother ONGC as they suddenly went off the boil, spraying the ball all over and allowing NISA to grab some control. The vast number of children, brought in by ONGC with ‘I Love ONGC’ written on their t-shirts, continuously kept egging the Mumbai side on but the opening half failed to yield any goals.
NISA came close to taking a rare lead twice but poor finishing hampered their hopes. L Dewn Singh stole the ball from 25 yards and burst into the box, but with just goalkeeper Bilifang Nazary to beat, the striker chose to pass to L Ibotomba Singh, who made a mess in the 57th minute. Five minutes later, Ksh Malemnganba Singh shot over from point-blank range.

Babatunde then sealed victory in the 80th minute, latching on to a neat defence-splitting pass from former India international Jatin Bisht and tapping it comfortably over NISA goalkeeper L Prem Kumar Singh.In the day’s earlier match, Jacken Sebastian scored a brace as Malabar United defeated Oil India 2-0. Sebastian netted the opener in the seventh minute before doubling his tally in the 31st minute.

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