New Delhi, Nov 2 (UNI) Mahindra United converted a last gasp penalty to beat a valiant Border Security Force and sail into the quarter-finals of the 120th Osian's Durand Cup football tournament here today.
Striker Yusuf Yakubu scored from the spot in the 87th minute to silence the BSF supporters at the Ambedkar Stadium.
The fast-paced tie saw the Mumbai side's technical superiority being matched by the spirited fight by the securitymen in probably the best match of the tournament so far.
Mahindra, though, could have won by a better margin had not Douhou Djidja Pierre squandered another penalty kick in the 78th minute.
Mahindra, who did not start with India stars Steven Dias, NP Pradeep and K Ajayan, began tentatively and BSF were on an attacking mode early on.
From one such offensive, the securitymen could have scored but Banti Singh was denied by the woodwork when he took a running shot after he found himself clear with only goalkeeper in front.
BSF enjoyed slight advantage for most part of the first session with Boy Singh doing a lot of running and Banti Singh creating anxious moments for Mahindra defenders with his dangerous runs inside the box.
The two sides went goalless into the breather and Mahindra coach introduced Steven Dias and K Ajayan after resumption and Pradeep in the 70th minute which started the scale tilting towards the Mumbai side.
Dias and Pradeep, two star performers for India in the Nehru Cup in August, did not do nothing extraordinary but Mahindra stamped their class in the second session.
But, they had to wait till the 78th minute for a real chance to go ahead, though Pierre wasted a spot kick awarded after Mandeep Singh brought down Yakubu inside the box.
Just as the match looked meandering towards extra time, referee, for the second time in the match, ruled that Boy Singh had handled the ball inside the box and pointed to the dreaded spot and this time Yakubu found the target to send his side to the round of last eight.
In the quarter-finals on Sunday, Mahindra will meet Sporting Clube de Goa, who, earlier in the day, scored a facile 2-1 victory over Army XI in another pre quarter-final match.
For Sporting, Olushola Ogundare (8th), Bibiano Fernandes (61st) found the target while Ramachandran (92nd) pull one back for the Army in the injury time.
The match in a way settles scores for Sporting who lost to the same opponents in 2005 final of this tournament in a tie breaker.
Sporting, who dominated the proceedings throughout the match, shot into lead eighth minute from the start with hard working Ogundare blasting a right-footer from a Boniface Ambani spadework.
From then onwards the Goan side enjoyed most of the exchanges but could not give the finishing touches.
After resumption, the introduction of former India player Bibiano Fernandes led the Goans to numerous openings.
Eighth minute into the second session, Joseph Pereira's neat left-footed placement from top left corner of the box was briliantly palmed away by goalkeeper Robi Kanta Singh.
Army also made some threatening moves early into the second half.
Ngurneilal's left-footer in front of the goal was blocked by a defender.
In the 69th minute, Sporting's substitute Eze Isiocha hit the crossbar after Irudaya Raj made a defensive blunder.
Two minutes later, Sporting cushioned their lead with Bibiano lobbing over the out of position goalkeeper from top of the box into the net.
With much time left into the match, Army went for an all out attack but it was Sporting who could have increased their lead had Isiocha not missed an easy chance, shooting wide in front of the open goal after being fed by Ogundare.
Army missed a sitter in the 85th minute with Ramachandran's goal bound left-footer missing the crosspiece by inches.
Ramachandran rectified his mistake by scoring the consolation goal in the injury time but it was too late in the day.