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Indian Nationals show grit in victory

Ex-Indian Nationals midfielder Manish Maithani was a mere onlooker at the Ambedkar Stadium on Tuesday as his former team registered a 2-1 victory over Punjab Police...

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi |
March 25, 2009 10:52:45 pm

Ex-Indian Nationals midfielder Manish Maithani was a mere onlooker at the Ambedkar Stadium on Tuesday as his former team registered a 2-1 victory over Punjab Police,closing in on a semi-final berth at the fifth Lieutenant Governor’s Cup.

The victory showed how the DSA joint-champions are learning to survive without the services of two of their first-choice players — Maithani and Nigerian striker ND Opara — who moved to Amity United on loan prior to the second division I-League qualifiers.

Testing the waters for most of the first half after Austin’s header off Santa Singh’s cross had sneaked past Punjab Police goalkeeper in the 16th minute,Austin and Gyan Moyon got trapped at the edge of the opponent box. Punjab Police’s guns,meanwhile,kept misfiring. But it took them four minutes into the second half to equalise against the run of play through Amandeep Batra .

What followed was a brave display from the Nationals as Santa Singh,Austin,Gyan Moyon,Amjad Hussain and Tuireising combined to pile the pressure on the Punjab defence. But they were kept waiting for the winner till the 65th minute when Amjad Hussain’s long-range volley outwitted Ramanjit Singh.

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The goal pumped up the Nationals to the extent that their defence — led by Rishi Kapoor — almost paid the price of being over aggressive. For Punjab Police,Naresh Kumar,Amandeep Batra,Rohit and Sumit Bali came up with some spirited play,only to be denied by stand-in goalkeeper Raj Kumar.

For the half-chance — Amandeep missed the empty net while there was nobody to edge in Rohit’s header at the goalmouth though,the two-time champions had nobody but themselves to blame.

Earlier,Goa U-21 team beat Moonlight 2-0.

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