Margao: Mahindra United edged past Salgaocar 2-1 to qualify for the semi-finals of the second under-19 National Football League at Nehru Stadium Thursday.
Mahindra finished second (7 points) behind Dempo (10) in group A to fill the last semi-final slot. JCT topped group B while East Bengal were runners-up.
Mahindra will meet JCT in the first semi-final while East Bengal take on Dempo in the other, both games scheduled for Sunday. The final is slated for Wednesday.
Mahindra took the lead in the 21st minute when Anil Pawar centred the ball to Agnelo Francis who beat the off-side trap and uncorked a right-footer that beat goalkeeper Gerald.
Salgaocar, who needed a draw to qualify, restored parity two minutes later. Vindan, who took a free-kick from the right, floated the ball to Melvish DíCosta whose cross was tapped in by Lector Caido.
Mahindra, facing a must-win situation, went all out for the kill and retained the lead within 10 minutes. Neil Gaekwad floated the ball into the box for Pawar who made no mistake to put the Mumbai side in front.
After the change of ends, Mahindra continued to enjoy upper hand and could have won by bigger margin had their forwards not wasted at least three close scoring chances.