Kolkata/Bangalore, Feb 20 (Calcutta Tube / IBNS) Leaders Salgaocar SC maintained their pole position with 4-1 win over Chirag United and Mohun Bagan were held 1-1 by HAL in the 15th round of the ONGC I-League on Sunday.
Substitute Ekene Ekenwa struck twice to lead Salgaocar SC 4-1 win over 10-man Chirag Untied at Yuba Brarati Krirangan in Kolkata.
After Junior Elijah put CU into the lead in 4th minute, the visitors came from behind taking the numerical advantage with former East Bengal striker Yusuf Yakubu scoring in the 19th minute to level the score. In the second session the visitors pumped three more goals to put Salgaocar SC atop the table with 34 points, three points above East Bengal, who have played 14 games so far.
The local outfit broke the wall in the 4th minute through Junior Elijah but the men in blues emaciated quickly after midfielder Denson Devdas was ejected from the ground by Uttarkhand referee Pratap Singh for tackling behind on Ryiji Sueoka, who was live wire for Salgaocar’s attack in the 12th minute.
Taking numerical advantage Salgaocar restored parity in the 19th minute play from Yusif Yukubu’s right footed grounder and in the second session former East Bengal striker Ekene blasted twice in space of fifteen minutes before Fransis Fernandez slotted home in the 65th minute.
This was Salgaocar’s 6th unbeaten run on a string after 1-3 defeat to Mohun Bagan in the round 9th to salvage altogether 34 points from 15 games, three above from East Bengal who have played 14 matches.
Chirag United began with a bang hurling goal inside four minutes after their captain Joshimar da Silva Marintes paved way for Junior, who dodged past two defenders to beat goalkeeper Karanjit Singh.
But CU’s dependable medio Denson Debdas made a huge blunder tackling on the Japanese striker from behind in the 12th minute to invite a red card after a yellow nine minutes earlier of an offence on the same player.
Subrata Bhattacharyya’s side after loosing one player find difficult to cope with the situation as the opposition mounted sporadic attacks to level the game.
Yusuf Yakubu, who scored a brace as Salgaocar SC defeated Viva Kerala 4-0 in the previous game, slotted home in the 19th minute of a pass from Gilberto.Yakubu was adjudged Man of the Match for second consecutive time as he was responsible for Ekene’s first goal.
In the second half Fransis Fernandez made 2-1 for the visitors capitalising a corner kick from substitute James Singh.
Ekene M Ikenwa, who also scored a goal in the previous game, made the task easy for coach Karim Bencherifa, with double goal to put his total three. Ekene came in place of
the Japanese striker.
CU coach Subrata Bhattacharyya in the second half brought in newly recruit Choi Yunjoi from South Korea and India’s striker Sunil Chetri but nothing could break tight defence if Salgaocar headed by Liciano Sabrosa.
In the first leg the Goa outfit defeated CU 4-3.
In Bangalore Mohun Bagan failed to hold lead by goal from Surkumar Singh in the 30th minute. Using a back pass from Edeh Chidi the India’s rightback unleashed a rightfooter to beat Pramode under the bar.
Eight minutes later J Murli, who has been in outstanding form levelled the score and held his team at par with Mohun Bagan.
Mohun Bagan now out of contest in the 14-team premier division were now on 24 points and HAL were on 15 points at end of the 15 games.