Hamsa goal takes HASC past Pune

Champions East Bengal outclass Air India

Hamsa found the back of the net in the 17th minute for the Bangalore side.  Pune FC, despite several attacks, failed to find parity as the Airmen maintained their composure, especially in the second half, to take maximum points from their first match.

Earlier, Defending champions East Bengal got their campaign off to a winning start with a 3-1 result over Air India in the other Group A match. East Bengal got off to a flying start and enjoyed much of the possession controlling proceedings throughout a dominating first half for the Kolkatans.

They found the first goal through Tolgay Ozbey in the 21st minute with Ozbey grabbing another in the 55th minute from the penalty spot. East Bengal put the game to bed with a Robin Singh strike in the 63rd minute. Air India found a consolation goal in added time courtesy Vijith Shetty.

In a group B match Kolkata’s Chirag United scored a hard-fought 1-0 win over Sesa Football Academy. The young outfit from Goa, who came through the qualifiers after beating sides like Vasco Sports Club and Sporting Clube de Goa, lost despite giving a good account of themselves at the Tilak Maidan ground.

Matching the fancied Kolkatans, SESA dictated terms in the second half where they had innumerable chances, but lack of finishing cost them the match. Chirag, who enjoyed good possession in the first half, scored through Denson Devdas. The Chirag striker could have doubled the lead just before the break, but his attempt hit the post.

Disciplined game

Trailing by a goal, Sesa, playing a disciplined game in the second half and came close to scoring on at least four occasions, but their strikers — Rakshak Naik and C Shirshuram failed to pounce.

The Goans had the best chance to find the equaliser in the dying minutes but substitute Richard Colaco shot straight at keeper Somnath Khara to hand the Kolkatans maximum points.

Other results: Group B: Churchill Brothers: 4 (Kolo Sakibo 39th, Odafe Okolie 57th, 65th, R Samenia 76th).

Group C: Dempo SC: 5 (Beto 33rd, Ranti Martins 56th, 75th, 78th, Joaquim Abranches 89t) bt ONGC: 2 (Babatunde 17th, 42nd); India XI: 1 (Malswmfela 76th) bt JCT: 0.

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