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Durand Cup: Air India break Bhawanipur hearts

New Delhi, Sep 15 : Despite a 4-3 win over Air India, Bhawanipur FC's hopes of qualifying for Durand Cup football semi-finals were dashed as Indian Navy went through instead.


Bhawanipur needed to beat Air India by a margin of 3-0 or a goal difference of two to have a chance of progressing. Indian Navy had drawn their game against Bhawanipur 0-0 and beaten Air India 2-0

Indian Navy will now play ONGC in the second semi-final Tuesday.

It all seemed to be going the Kolkata's side way as they took a 2-0 lead and dominated the proceedings at least till first half normal time.

Both of Bhawanipur's first half goals came from the boot of Snehasish Dutta.

But in the added time of the first half, Jony Chand Singh pulled one back for Air India after his shot from inside the box gave the keeper no chance.

Still needing just a goal to qualify for the semis Bhawanipur pushed on in the second half.

But things didn't go as planned. After dominating the first half where they should have scored at least two more goals, Bhawanipur started losing their grip on the match.

Air India became more adventurous and started venturing into the opposition box more often. Their attacking play finally bore fruit as Sudheesh scuppered Bhawanipur's hopes by drawing Air India level in the 58th minute.

The unthinkable happened the very next minute as Sudheesh again found himself in acres of space and expertly chipped the on-rushing keeper to give his team an unlikely lead.

With their dreams all but shattered Bhawanipur failed to take control of the match. But there was a twist still remaining.

In the 78th minute, Manjit Singh reignited Bhawanipur's hopes by putting Frances Xavier's cross into the back of the net.

With the end of normal time and the score locked on 3-3, Bhawanipur needed two goals. They received a penalty in the 93rd minute after five minutes were added on.

Jose Barreto slotted the ball coolly in the bottom right corner, sending the bench into a tizzy.

With time flying by Bhawanipur failed to get the goal they needed to qualify.

--IANS (Posted on 15-09-2013)

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