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Rediff.com  » Sports » Army XI shock Mohd. Sporting

Army XI shock Mohd. Sporting

January 07, 2003 20:12 IST

In a major upset, unfancied Army XI knocked out crowd favourites Mohammedan Sporting, Kolkata, 5-3 via the tie-breaker to book their maiden final berth in the 115th Durand Cup football tournament.

In the first semi-final at the Ambedkar stadium, on Tuesday, the teams were locked 1-1 at the end of full-time and extra-time.

Mohameddan Sporting dominated for most of the match, but it was not till the closing minutes that proceedings went into full gear. In the 87th minute, striker Dipendu Biswas showed rare craftsmanship to put the Kolkata side ahead - 1-0.

A Biswajit Mondal free-kick curled in for a waiting Dipendu, who brilliantly headed from the edge of the penalty area, beating a diving Army XI goalkeeper Abun Singh.

But Army XI drew level towards the fag end of the four-minute injury time through a free-kick, taken by Pradip Debnath. Saroj Gurung flicked the ball to the left of Mohammedans keeper Imran Khan to take the match to extra-time.

Army goalkeeper Abun Singh was easily the man of the match, bringing up a couple of absolutely spectacular saves. In the penalty shoot-out too, Abun was up to the task. He saved Amandeep Singh's spot kick which virtually pulled the army men through to their maiden Durand final appearance.

In the tie-breaker, Pradip Debnath put Army XI ahead before Abun anticipated well and blocked Amandeep Singh's shot, diving to his left.

Thereafter, Saroj Gurung, Ignatious, and Irudayaraj converted their kicks for the armymen. For the Kolkata side, Abdul Seriki, Arjan Ali and Arunava Sarkar scored. The score was 4-3. Then it was left to Army's Raghu Kumar, who scored to give his side an unassailable 5-3 lead.

Army XI meet the winners of Wednesday's semi-final between favourites East Bengal and promising Salgaocar.