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 March 19, 2002 | 1945 IST

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F C Kochin scrape past HAL

F C Kochin, struggling to avoid relegation to the second division, notched a solitary goal victory over Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, Bangalore, in a Tata National Football League encounter in Kochi on Tuesday.

The all-important goal was scored by striker Kulothungan from a penalty conversion in the 87th minute, much to the delight of his teammates.

Kulothungan, who got possession of a stray ball on the right flank, dodged past a couple of defenders and cut into the box, where HAL's substitute Vinod Kumar tackled him roughly and referee Anthony Braganza of Goa had no hesitation in pointing to the dreaded spot.

Kulothungan placed the ball to the left of goalkeeper Gumpe Rime, to fetch his team a well-deserved win.

The local outfit dominated most of the play in the first half, with HAL forwards failing to have a clear look at the rival goal. HAL looked a pale shadow of the team that had stunned giants Mohun Bagan and East Bengal in their earlier matches.

With this win, FC Kochin progressed to 14 points from 17 matches while HAL remained on 25.

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