New Delhi: Air India scraped past a tenacious Madras Engineering Group (MEG) Bangalore, 1-0 in a lacklustre group B match of the 115th Pepsi Durand Cup match Thursday.
Striker Suprith Jaitanna scored the winner in the 15th minute. In a group D match, Assam Regimental Centre (ARC) held Punjab State Electricty Board (PSEB) 1-1.
Air India dominated proceedings and should have won by a bigger margin. The winner was scored when left-midfielder Vijith Shetty’s through pass found Jaitanna who flicked in from close. Towards the end, Air India’s veteran striker Anthony Fernandez took a first-time shot, off a miskick by MEG custodian Robikanta Singh, which skimmed the bar and went over.
Meanwhile, PSEB looked rusty in the first half and were over run by ARC. ARC went into the lead in the fourth minute when midfielder Laldingliana’s cross was fumbled by the rival ’keeper Jitender Singh and Thanglang Moina, lurking nearby, prodded in. ARC dominated proceedings but the woodwork came in their way twice.
PSEB came back strongly in the second half to equalise in the 49th minute when Sukhjinder Singh’s cross from the left was headed in by Sarabjit Singh.
East Bengal coach Subhas Bhowmick, who was present for the Air India match, informed that besides the six players in the national camp, his team will be without two injured midfielders Deepanker Roy and Anit Ghosh.
The three foreigners likely to feature are Brazilians Gilmar Goncalves and Douglas D’ Silva and Nigerian Mike Okoro. Suley Musah, who is still recuperating from an injury, is set to be left out.