Margao, March 31 (IANS) Defending champions Salgaocar Sports Club relied on a solitary penalty strike from Ryuji Sueoka to scrape past Air India in a 22nd round I-League clash at the Nehru Stadium, Fatorda, Saturday.
Sueoka converted a 22rd minute penalty to give Salgaocar three points and some good morale before they travel to Jordan for their AFC Cup clash against Al Widhat.
Salgaocar took the field without suspended Nigerian striker Edeh Chidi but the home side were never short on attacking firepower. Sueoka himself was breathing down Air India's neck all the time while Beevan D'Mello's paces also created several problems for his markers.
Salgaocar, however, could not translate their domination into goals as several chances were muffed by the likes of Sueoka, Beevan, Francis Fernandes and Ishfaq Ahmed.
The only goal of the match happened in the 23rd minute when Kali Alaudeen tripped Nicolau Colaco inside the box. Sueoka then converted the penalty with ease.
Air India were pinned on the back foot for most of the first half but showed some spunk in the second session, although that made them susceptible to counter attacks. Air India striker Ezeh Henry tried to bulldoze his way most of the times but with rival captain Luciano Sobrosa hot on his trail, he could not do much.
Air India did not trouble Salgaocar goalkeeper Karanjit Singh. There were a couple of feeble attempts which did not raise much sweat in the rival camp.
Salgaocar now have 39 points from 22 outings while Air India are stuck on 28 from 22 matches.
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