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Mahindra down East Bengal with penalty goal
April 20, 2006 20:54 IST
Mumbai giants Mahindra United beat frontrunners East Bengal 1-0 to cut the Kolkata giants' lead at the top of the National Football League to a solitary point.
At the Cooperage ground in Mumbai on Thursday, Federation Cup winners Mahindra United dominated the clash of the two leading teams and scored the match-winner from a penalty, converted by Yusif Yakubu in added time of the first half.
Mahindra had also won the first leg 1-0.
The spot-kick was awarded to the local outfit when defender Malsawm Tluanga fisted the ball while going for an aerial duel with Yakubu. Surprisingly, he was not booked for the offence.
The victory took Mahindra United's points' tally to 26 from 12 outings, placing them just behind the Kolkata side, who have 27 from 13 matches.
Pior to the goal, East Bengal captain Baichung Bhutia had a good chance to put his team ahead, but delayed while taking a shot following a long clearance and Mahindra defender Mahesh Gawli did well to clear the ball out of harm's way.
Soon afterwards, the mercurial striker dodged two defenders and laid a fine pass, but it was booted wide of the target by Ndem Guy Herve.
After staving off these threats in the first 15 minutes, Mahindra took control of the proceedings and could have gone ahead, but for East Bengal custodian Abhra Mondal, who saved a stiff shot from Yakubu following a forward pass by K Ajayan.
Six minutes later Rauf Khan missed an open goal when put through by Yakubu, after the latter received a cross from Steven Dias.