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Monday, 6 February 2012

Chidi on target as Salgaocar beat Prayag 1-0

Margao: Edeh Chidi scored the all-important goal as Salgaocar Sports Club overcame a stiff second-half resistance from Prayag United to win 1-0 in the 19th round of the I-League football championship at Nehru Stadium on Monday.

The only goal of the match was scored in the 21st minute by Chidi, but it was Salgaocar keeper Karanjit Singh who hogged the limelight with his brilliant work under the bar. The visitors were to blame themselves for some poor finishing, notably in the second session.

The Goa outfit, who have remained unbeaten in the last 11 matches, took their tally to 33 points from 19 matches and moved to fifth place above Prayag United, who remained on 32 points from 19 ties after Monday's defeat.

Salgaocar looked the better side in the first half as they made inroads into the rival half with a steady flow of passes. They had a chance to take lead in the 19th minute but Ryuji Sueoka's header was collected well by rival keeper Abhijit Mondal.

Salgaocar went ahead in the 26th minute from a free kick following a foul on Francis Fernandes by defender Justine Stephen on the right flank.

Randeep Singh, who took the free kick, floated the ball into the box for Chidi, who rose above the rival defenders and nodded it to the far corner of the net, which eventually turned out to be the winner.

Chidi had another chance to increase the lead but his header off Sueoka's cross from the left was put out by Mondal.

Prayag United, who failed to function as a unit in the first half, were a different side in the second as they gelled well in the midfield and probed often into the rival half.

They created at least four scoring chances but failed to score as Salgaocar's keeper made good saves to frustrate the scoring efforts of Yusif Yakubu twice and Josimar once.

Prayag were denied a penalty midway in the second half by referee Denny Jacob when keeper Karanjit, who came out to foil Josimar Martins from scoring, brought him down but the referee turned down the appeals.

Salgaocar coach Karim Bencherifa was happy with the victory.

"My boys played well today. Our focus right now is not to win the title but to move up the ladder and I am happy that we won today and kept the winning momentum going in the last eleven matches," he stated.

Prayag United coach Sanjoy Sen was disappointed over the denied penalty by the referee Denny Jacob.

"He (Denny Jacob) killed the match by not awarding a penalty to us in the second half. We are going to complain to the AIFF about the referee," stated Sen.


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