| Air-India in last
four, Kochin sent packing
Today, FC Kochin had their bunch of talented youngsters back from Thailand
where India had participated in the Asian Youth Championship. Playing to
potential, the former Tata Football Academy boys treated spectators to
brilliant football. Kochin went on rampage from the start and made at least
seven attempts on Bagan goal in the first 15 minutes. The experienced Bagan
players ran back to guard their goal and even striker Chima Okeri had to
try and save goals. In fact, the Kochin boys troubled Chima so much that
it upset his rhythm and he could hardly get to the ball.
But in an anti-climax, referee Shankar gave Bagan a needless penalty on the pretext that Chima was tackled dangerously. The experienced Nigerian, while running the Kochin penalty area, fell down and appealed for a foul. The referee promptly obliged and the Nigerian converted to equalise in the 68th minute.
Earlier, Vasco surprised Air-India with a draw. Air-India, who were
almost certain for a semi-final berth, were going easy as they needed only
a draw to confirm their entry into semis. Taking advantage of their laid
back attitude, Vasco to held centrestage and dominated throughout. Yet,
the goal came in the dying moments when in the 87th minute Caetane Pinho
scored through a 35-yarder after getting a cross from Tony Okafor. Air-India
recovered from the jolt quickly and promptly equalised two minutes laterthrough
PSEB v Army XI (1 pm), East Bengal v Mahindra and Mahindra (3 pm).