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 March 1, 2002 | 2115 IST

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Akeem 'tricks' for Tollygunge

A fine hat-trick by Nigerian striker Akeem enabled Tollygunge Agragami beat Hindustan Aeronautics, Bangalore, 3-2 in an exiting 13th round match in the sixth Tata National Football League, in Kolkata on Friday.

Displaying fine opportunism and marksmanship, Akeem scored in the fourth, 43rd and 67th minutes to earn the coveted hat-trick.

For HAL, forwards Sunil Kumar and Danair Abdyraimiv reduced the margin with goals in the 19th and 47th minutes respectively.

Taking full advantage of the home conditions, Tollygunge went full blast right from the kick-off and took the lead early, when Akeem, collecting a long cross from the right, shot home - (1-0).

The lead was, however, shortlived as HAL, who had earlier defeated Mohun Bagan and held champions East Bengal to a draw in the first leg of the league, drew level 15 minutes later, with their ebullient medio Sunil Kumar heading home a Jimmy Mulisa cross (1-1).

After scoring a goal each, both teams displayed a fine brand of soccer, with Tollygunge having a slight edge. Their medios, Sasthi Duley and Satish Bharatai, moved in tandem to speahead their attacks and fed Akeem with good passes. With linkman Sunil Kumar doing most of the spadework, HAL also made a number of raids but an alert Tollygunge keeper Sandeep Nandi brought off fine saves.

The home team forged ahead again a couple of minutes before the breather. After Tollygunge medio Moses's shot rebounded after hitting an HAL defender, Akeem, who was lurking near the rival box, pounced on the opportunity to score (2-1).

Inspite of being in arrears for the second time, HAL did not lose heart and kept on pounding their rivals. They again restored parity as the match restarted after the lemon break. Following a long cross by an HAL defender, the Tollygunge custodian failed to judge the flight of te ball and Danair Abdyraimiv tapped the ball home (2-2).

Tollygunge scored the match-winner midway through the second half. It was the result of well combined move. Collecting the ball in his own area, Tollygunge medio Sandeep Das dribbled past a couple of rival defenders and passed the ball to Akeem. The last-named took a half turn and beat the HAL custodian with an accurate right footed grounder -- 3-2.

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