Quarter Final Round Matches Held on 28 August 2012
Air India 1-1 Pailan Arrows
It was an exciting first match as Pailan Arrows, coached by Arthur Papas. prepared to better Air India. Pailan despretely needed to win the game to reach the next stage, while a draw was enough to take Air India through. Both teams started their game in an attacking mode and each vied to trounce other. However, it was Air India who drew first blood when Souvik Chakraborty scored in the 17th minute. But no sooner, within 3 minutes, Avinabo Bag netted one for Pailan to equalize.
The teams filed into the dressing rooms at half time with the score line reading 1-1. But as both the teams took to field for the second time, the battle seemed more intense.
Pailan coach Papas was seen directing from his bench, asking his players to score, as they were in desprete need of a goal here. Air India on the other hand seemed much more aggressive in their approach and repeatedly attacked the Pailan defense. A heated clash between T Sarkar and Gagandeep Singh resulted in yellow cards for both. Micky Fernandes attempted a near brilliant one in the 79th minute, only to miss it by inches. Since Air India was pretty comfortable with the 1-1 score, they used the age old tactic of substitution et al to kill time. This resulted in 4 minutes of injury time, but it was of no use to the Pailan players, as the match ended in a 1-1 draw, making the semifinal slot a cakewalk for Air India.
Sporting Clube de Goa 3-1 ONGC
The second match saw giants Sporting Clube de Goa taking on ONGC. Goa, already relegated from the tournament played out a formality while ONCG could make it to the semifinals only if they won by a margin of two goals. However, it was the Delhi monsoon that, yet again, played truant making it a difficult affair for the players to control the ball.
In spite of the rain, it was a very heated first half as both the teams tried hard to score. Sporting Clube seemed to dominate the whole game, even as they missed a couple of very close chances, when the ball deflected after hitting the posts. In the 41st minute, Victornio Fernandes scored the first goal of the match of Goa. But within a minute, ONGC’s counter attacked equalized the score thanks to a brilliant goal by Dhanesh MC.
The first half ended with at 1-1. In the second half, the rain beat down harder and the game acquired a fierce edge. It must be taken into note that the match saw 14 bookings while a single expulsion was recorded. The players resorted to a rough game, adding to the misery caused by rain. ONGC gave away two penalties which proved too expensive for them, as both were converted by Ogba Kalu and substitute Prakesh in the 67th and 90+2 minutes. The match ended with a final score of 3-1, and all the chances of ONGC qualifying to the next round perished.
The semi final lineup is now clear. Air India will meet Sesa Goa FA in the first semifinal while Dodsal Mumbai are up against Assam Rifles in the second.
-Amlan J. Das