Ludhiana, Mar 12 (UNI) A brace by striker Marcos Pereira helped JCT, Phagwara edged out Air India, Mumbai 2-1 in a well contested ncounter of the tenth National Football League (NFL) for the ONGC Cup at the Guru Nanak stadium here today.
Marcos scored in the 12th and 35th minutes to help JCT gain an upper hand in the match. For the losers, the lone goal came in injury time through Benoy Kuruvilla.
This was the second victory for the millmen in eight matches having beaten Mohun Bagan at Kolkata at the start of the NFL. This win will help JCT move up the league table as they now have nine points.
On the other hand, this was the third loss for Air India from six matches. They remain on seven points that they had collected through two wins and one draw.
The Punjab team was in menacing form at the start of the game and launched a number of attacks on the rival defence through Marcos, Praveen Kumar and Johnson Banner. In the 12th minute of play Marcos, after receiving a pass from Praveen broke through the Air India defences and the Brazillian recruit's powerful ground volley had goalkeeper Sundar Rajan going the wrong way.
The Air India custodian seemed nervous under the bar as in the 35th minute a rather weak shot by Marcos went past him and into the nets to give JCT a 2-0 lead. Though in the second half the Mumbai team played a better game and tested the rival defence on a few occasions but the ever reliable JCT custodian Kalyan Chaubey brought of a couple of good saves. It was only in injury time that a shot from Benoy Kuruvilla managed to get past Chaubey to reduce the margin to 2-1.
UNI HS BK PDS RK1825