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Bottom-placed HASC shock leaders Mahindra United
April 18, 2007 21:29 IST
Last Updated: April 18, 2007 21:42 IST
Leaders Mahindra United were inflicted a shock 1-0 defeat by bottom-placed Hindustan Aeronautics Sports Club in a 14th round encounter of the National Football League, at the BDFA stadium, in Bangalore, on Wednesday.
The all-important goal came in injury time, through substitute Satish Kumar, with barely one minute left for the final whistle.
It turned out to be a bad day for Mumbai teams, as Air India lost 0-3 to JCT in another match, in Ludhiana.
A brace by Nigerian striker Edeh Chidi was the highlight of the Punjab team's big victory.
At the receiving end for most part of the game, HASC notched its second victory.
The all-important goal came when Satish hoodwinked Mahindra custodian Sandip Nandy, who had little to do during the match with the visitors calling the shots, but failing to find the net.
Seemingly content with a draw against the NFL giants, HASC scored against the run of play in the dying moments following a move initiated by Rajendra Prasad.
The HASC forward, taking control of the ball, moved menacingly into the rival citadel after a brief passing duel with Satish, who came in place of R Vashum in the second half. Rajendra fed the ball to an unmarked Xavier, who went for the final kill. Nandy failed to clear deftly the left-footer from Xavier and a well-positioned Satish made no mistake in finding the net.
Mahindra had themselves to blame for the defeat. Their striking combination, including the Ghanese duo of Yusif Yakubu and Andrew Mensah and Mbaka B Dady from Congo, failed miserably on the numerous chances that came their way.
Brave hearted HASC defenders Nigerian Joseph Adeola and Pawan Kumar too deserve credit for thwarting the attempts made by the Mahindra strikers.
Most part of the first half saw the two teams playing out in the midfield with the Mahindra strikers getting little leeway from the HASC defenders. Mensah had a great chance to put his team in front in the seventh minute when he rose for a header off a Ajayen lob but hit the far post.
Half way through the first half Xavier, who was left to do all the hard work upfront for HASC as other strikers looked palpably off colour, nearly scored but his long ranger just missed the far post.
Fittingly Xavier was adjudged the player of the match.
Mahindra pressed hard in the latter half by storming the rival citadel time and again, but Mensah and skipper Yakubu let the chances go down the drain with inaccurate finishing.
HASC, which languishes at the bottom of the table and face a certain relegation, took their tally to ten points from 14 matches while Mahindra remain on 26.
Mahindra next play Air India while HASC face Churchill Brothers in an away match.