FCI hold ICF in Sr Div League
By Express News Service | Published: 03rd December 2012 10:10 AM |
Integral Coach Factory’s title stakes took another blow as minnows Food Corporation of India held them 1-1 in a St Joseph’s—CFA Senior Division League fixture at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Sunday.
FCI were the better-composed team from the offset, exhibiting more poise and purpose and could have gone in front in the initial phase but for sloppy finishing. Makeshift forward John Paul fluffed two glorious chances that could have wrested them the initiative. V Ashok Kumar’s through ball so delectably placed that Paul just had to render the finishing touch.
Few minutes later, he muffed another prospective goal from the edge of the box, again conceived by Ashok Kumar, their creative engine in the midfield, and who later masterminded their equaliser in the second half. They had such a grasp on the match that ICF were clearly under the cosh.
But ironically ICF secured lead in the stoppage-time first half. It was one of the rare instances ICF went for broke in the opponent half. After umpteen rebounds off the goalkeeper and yellow shirts, ICF players reckoned FCI’s centre back A Prem Kumar had handled the ball just inside the box. The referee upheld their appeal and awarded the penalty, which their experienced midfielder S Suresh Kumar tucked in home.
However, this was Suresh’s only glorious moment in the match as he struggled to be the creator as he had been for ICF in the past. It was a general reflection of their mundane midfield, which seemed shorn off their inventive spark. The usually vibrant forward M David and his big-framed partner S Fredy, too, seemed out of sync. Had they hung onto the goal, it could have been injustice to FCI’s perseverance. But FCI fetched the deserving equaliser in the 71st minute, when S Satish Kumar latched onto to Ashok’s through ball.
Though ICF reckoned he was in an offside position, the referee stood firm in his decision.
Defending champions AGORC, too, had to settle for a draw against Tamil Nadu Police. The latter shot into lead through M Pachirajan in the 34th minute before P Muthu bailed them out in the 68th minute.