| Hardeep Singh
Calcutta: Tollygunge Agragami called the shots in their National Football League encounter with JCT… Till one Hardeep Gill strode out to the Salt Lake Stadium and almost ruined the local team’s happiness.
Replacing an out-of-sorts I.M. Vijayan after an hour, with his team struggling to neutralise an early Ashim Biswas goal, Gill hit bull’s eye twice within 15 minutes. It took an 89th-minute strike by Akeem Abolanle to salvage a point for Aloke Mukherjee’s team.
Moses Owira, veering in from the right flank, relayed the ball to Sandip who in turn found Ashim lurking handily just inside the 18-yard box. Ashim confirmed his status as the most improved striker in Indian soccer by quickly turning and stabbing a right-footer past ’keeper Mansuru Mohammed.
This was Ashim’s 10th goal, making him the first Indian to reach that mark in the ongoing NFL edition.
A stiff Hardeep Saini shot was well palmed away by Arindam Ghosh 10 minutes into the second session. A little later, theTollygunge custodian had no answer to a Gill pile-driver. The substitute pounced on a loose ball and drilled a right-footer to the back of the net.
Gill made it 2-1 soon after, with considerable help from Arindam. A snap 20-yard shot came straight to him, but the momentum took the ball off the ’keeper’s control and went in off the post and his body.
A minute from final whistle, Akeem made good use of an Ashim pass, placing the ball just past Mansuru Mohammed.
Tollygunge Agragami: Arindam Ghosh, Kabijit Khotel, Sujit Neogi, Debkumar Sasmal, Isiaka Awoyemi, Mehtab Hussain (Biswarup Bisu, 63), Sandip Das, Moses Owira, Sujoy Datta, Ashim Biswas, Akeem Abolanle.
JCT: Mansuru Mohammed, Taranjit Singh, Musa Aliu, Harpreet Singh, Daljit Singh, Jaswinder Singh, Hardeep Saini, Jo Paul Ancheri, Rampal (Sukhwinder Singh, 62), I.M. Vijayan (Hardeep Gill, 60), K. Yeboah (Charanjit Kumar, 71).
Referee: J. Ravi Shankar