Air India defeat Salgaocar; move out of relegation zone

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Mumbai, Jan 14 (UNI) Air India today earned a scrappy odd goal in three win over Salgaocar in an eleventh round I-League clash at the Cooperage stadium, here today.

Air India, with three crucial points, moved up to 11 points and out of the relegation zone, while Salgoacar continue to be at the bottom of the table and in further danger of being relegated.

The match began with Air India pressing hard to score and the first chance came in the opening minute as Vijith Shetty's shot from the right was parried away by the Salgaocar custodian Marcus Basumatari.

Then the blunders began as both the goalkeepers couldn't collect the ball. In the 12th minute, Chimaokwu's shot from the left was missed by Air India's Arnab Das.

Both the team's backline had no clue what was happening as all they did was clear the ball. There was no fluid passing or any constructive build-up to attack.

In the 22nd minute, Narendra Meetei was declared offside by the referee much to the chagrin of the crowd. While, everyone's attention was towards the referee's decision Salgaocar skipper Rocus Lamare probed into the Airmen's defense. Goalkeeper Arnab came out to collect and completely missed the ball and the ball fell on the legs of Felix Chimaokwu who made no mistake from close range.

Five minutes later, it was Salgaocar's turn to show their defensive capabilities. Napoleon Singh crossed the ball for skipper Paresh Shivalkar who slotted the ball towards the goal only to be saved by the goalkeeper. Thereafter, the ball wasn't collected with Meetei trying to find a way past the keeper. The ball came to Shivalkar who found the back of the net to restore parity for the local side.

The winner came in the 44th minute when Napoleon Singh passed the ball straight towards Samson Singh from a flagkick who sent in a curling ball to find the far right of the net.

The second half saw a number of balls being hit into the orbit by strikers of either side. Salgaocar's Milagres Gonsalves had an open chance in the 54th minute after some good work by Felix Chimaokwu but a weak shot was cleared by the defense. In the very next minute, Fabio dos Passos hit the post.

The frustration of Salgaocar players was evident when Felix Chimaokwu put in a bad tackle for Chhetri and then confronted Dhanchandra Singh. Vijith Shetty held Felix by collar and in retaliation the latter touched the former's face which saw the Air India player go down.

The referee only showed a yellow card to the Salgaocar frontman allowing the others go scot free.

Air India's Thomte hit the post in the injury time as Salgaocar heaved a sigh of relief.

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