Indian Bank force Air India
to a draw
Air India's hopes of making it to the National Football League suffered a huge setback after they were held 1-1 by Indian Bank, Chennai, in the final phase of the Second Division National Football League, in Pondicherry on Tuesday.
The Mumbai side, who were beaten Dempo Sports Club, Goa, 3-0 in their first round match, have just one point after two matches.
Indian Bank, who beat Bhartri Sanga, Kolkata, 2-0 in their first round match, have four points after Tuesday's draw.
Air India opened their account in the 20th minute. Tomba Singh collected a pass from the right flank, survived an off-side trap by the bankmen, and beat advancing goalkeeper Felix Edward.
The Mumbai side held sway thereafter but were unable to increase the tally.
Indian Bank brought in Sabeer Pasha, in the place of R Amulraj, in the 36th minute. It gave some teeth to their attack and helped them make some meaningful raids into the rival citadel. However, an alert Air India defence warded off all threats.
Twelve minutes into the second half, the bankmen found the equaliser when their Sri Lankan recruit, Kusun Nadika, made no mistake in finding the target with the first scoring chance he got.
Joseph collected a pass from the right flank and made an attempt at goal, but the ball was cleared by Air India defender Osbern D'souza. However, Nadika pounced on the feeble clearence and shot home.
Dempo Sports Club meet Bengal Mumbai Football Club in Wednesday's first match while Bhratri Sangha clash with Indian National Football Club, New Delhi, later.
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