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Cops enter quarters

Guwahati, Dec. 31: Assam Police Blues edged past Food Corporation of India Sports Club by a solitary goal to make it to the quarter-finals of the 62nd Bharat Ratna Lokopriya Gopinath Bordoloi Trophy Football Tournament at Nehru Stadium here today.

Although FCI dominated the proceedings earlier in the game, the policemen gained momentum after breaking the deadlock through striker Mofidul Islam. The policemen outplayed FCI completely in the second half with repeated inroads but could not increase the lead.

FCI’s Rakesh Das took a powerful strike from inside the box but could only manage to hit the woodwork in the 13th minute.

He further attempted the target from around 25 yards with a powerful shot but it was well saved by Assam Police custodian Ranjan Brahma in the 23rd minute.

The policemen had their real share of a chance in the 26th minute. Pranjal Basumatary’s fine elevated cross from the left flank found Lohit Taye, whose header could only manage the safe hands of Brahma.

Despite having less ball possession in the early minutes, Assam Police Blues took full advantage of the situation in the 33rd minute to take the all-important lead. Golap Rabha’s pass from the midfield took a deflection of an opponent defender to find Mofidul Islam, who ensured the required lob to get the ball past the forwarding FCI custodian Bitul Khanikar.

With the referee whistling for the start of the second half, it was again Assam Police Blues with the flare. Despite being in a fine position after Bitul Khanikar’s failure to clear the ball, Lohit Taye’s strike from inside the box went way wide of the target in the 46th minute. Golap Rabha’s powerful shot from a close range was well saved by Khanikar in the 54th minute.

Defender Akan Khaklary’s well calculated pass to Biswamitra Basumatary whose shot from inside the box went way above the crossbar denying FCI its all important equaliser in the 63rd minute. Sabilal Konwar making his way into the box from the right flank failed with his attempt as it went way wide of the target in the 71st minute.

The policemen came close to doubling their lead with Mofidul Islam providing a well elevated cross to substitute Karuna Goyary, whose flick of the head was acrobatically saved by Bitul Khanikar in the 83rd minute.

With this win, Assam Police Blues have secured their quarterfinal date with I-League outfit Shillong Lajong FC on January 4.

Oil India FC, Duliajan will play Aizawl FC on Thursday.