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Salgaocar rally to beat Air-India

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January 12, 2006 17:18 IST

Salgaocar came from behind to beat Air-India 3-1 in their opening encounter of the 10th ONGC National Football League, at the Nehru stadium, in Margao, Goa, on Wednesday.

Unlike the goalless draw between JCT and Fransa Pax earlier in the evening, which saw both the teams dish out lacklustre fare, Salgaocar and Air-India played a fast and entertaining game.

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Air-India took an early lead in the ninth minute, when Sunil Thapa found the net after Salgaocar 'keeper Sangram Mukherjee failed to intercept a cross from Paresh Shivalkar.

Thereafter, despite the Goan team probing the rival half more often, they were unsuccessful in piercing the Mumbai team's defence.

It was in the second half that Salgaocar found their rhythm, with Brazilian Fabio Passo playing as an attacking midfielder and initiating most of the moves that kept the rival defence guessing.

They found the equaliser in the 55th minute when a well-directed cross from the right by Jyothi Kumar was headed home by Ashim Biswas.

The goal was a shot in the arm for the Goans, and they team took the lead in the 69th minute when Passo, from the right, sent a measured cross into the box and a diving Samson Singh headed the ball home.

Passo, who was later declared man of the match, then assured Salgaocar full points when he fired home a 20-yard long shot to snuff out Air-India's challenge.

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