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United SC enter the semi-finals

Calcutta: The funds have dried up, the Dutch coach, Eelco Schattorie has deserted the sinking ship, the players have no idea whether they will be paid or not. Yet, defending champions United Sports Club made it to the semi-final of the IFA Shield beating Geylang International of Singapore 2-1, at the Salt Lake Stadium, here on Saturday.

Playing under floodlights, the United players played their hearts out, setting up a semi-final clash with Mohammedan Sporting on Tuesday. In the other semi-final East Bengal will meet Dhanmondi Club from Bangladesh, the only foreign team to survive in the competition.

United made their intentions clear from the beginning and took the lead through a Baldeep Singh strike in the 21st minute.

A Deepak Mondal cross from left found Baldeep who, without allowing the ball to bounce, took a brilliant shot that left the Geylang goalkeeper dumbfounded.

They consolidated the lead through Eric Brown in the 34th minute. Off an assist, again from Deepak, Eric scored a gem of a goal. Deepak’s cross, this time from the right, found Eric inside the box who slotted home without much ado.

Down 0-2, Geylang tried to draw parity. But they succeeded to find the mark only once. In the 38th minute, they pulled one back when Kento Fukuda’s powerful header left United custodian Abhijit Das stranded.

Geylang seemed to have been running out of ideas for reversing the trend on Saturday, and in the 75th minute, they tried a change that is normally not seen in football.

Their goalkeeper Mohammed Siddiq changed his custodian’s shirt and played upfront as a striker from the 75th minute.