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 Air-India in last four, Kochin sent packing 

October 26,1998 
 NEW DELHI, Oct 26: Defending champions FC Kochin crashed out of the Kelvinator-Durand Cup championship despite playing a 1-1 draw against last year's runners-up Mohun Bagan in the quarter-final league. Bagan, who have four points by virtue of a win and this draw, entered the semi-finals while Kochin, with three points from three drawn matches, go home. Also entering the semis were Air India, who split points with Vasco Sports Club (Goa) 1-1. 

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. 
Their efforts paid off in the 66th minute when they earned a penalty after Abu Jomo was brought down inside the box. Carlton Chapman's cousin Noel Wilson scored to give Kochin the lead. 

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 Henry Picardo. 

PSEB v Army XI (1 pm), East Bengal v Mahindra and Mahindra (3 pm). 


 The Unofficial FC Kochi Page