Former champions Army Green beat I-league side Sudeva Delhi FC 1-0 to enter the quarter-finals of the 130th Durand Cup here on Friday. Deepak Singh, their two-goal hero from their 3-1 win against Jamshedpur FC (JFC) earlier in the tournament, was on target again to see the Greens through.
The two sides clashed at the Mohun Bagan ground in the final game of Group B, with both of them as well as JFC, also playing their final game simultaneously against FC Goa at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan (VYBK), having a shot at the knockout stages.
JFC, however, went down 0-5 in that game, allowing Army Green to go through along with group toppers FC Goa, who had three wins out of three.
In the initial quarter of the first half, both Army Green and Sudeva created opportunities but it was all Greens after that. In the 9th minute, the Greens had their first major scoring opportunity when Lallawmkima took a brilliant header, but could not go past Sudeva keeper Sachin Jha. Shubham Rana took another shot at goal on the rebound, but Sachin came up with another brilliant save.
The ball hovered around the Sudeva goal for most of the first half. Thirty minutes into the game, two back-to-back corners almost got the Greens on the board, but Sachin made sure it was goalless at halftime.
Sudeva looked all charged up in the second half, however. In the 46th minute, William Pauliankhum had the ball just a few yards away from the goal but failed to score.
Army Green came back strong and in the 51st minute courtesy of a nice setup and a wonderful assist by Dip Mazumdar, Deepak tapped the ball into the net.
The Delhi side did have a few chances to equalize but they could not go past Army Green’s defense to end the campaign with three losses.
In the day’s second game, FC Goa authored a dominating performance to blitz JFC 5-0 to finish on top with nine points and push their ISL rivals out of the 130th Durand Cup.
It was an incident-free first quarter of an hour, with Goa keeping the likes of Glan Martins and Makan Chote on the bench and giving Brandon a start along with a third keeper in the tournament in Hrithik Tiwari.
They were looking to take control and eventually Devendra got a free header off a corner in the 20th minute and nodded home from close to give Goa their first of the game. Then six minutes later, Princeton Rebello got two bites of the cherry inside the JFC box and blasted the second one home past a hapless Vishal Yadav under the JFC bar.
Murgaokar then tapped in a third, his second of the game and third of the tournament, a minute before a break to make it 3-0 for the Goans at halftime.
The talented Muhammed Nemil then made the second half his own with a double strike. He scored the first just after commencement and then in the 81st minute smartly chipped the keeper for his third o’ the tournament and Goa’s fifth of the game.