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    Pune FC, Mohun Bagan register wins in Under-20 I-League

    Jamshedpur: Pune FC kept their winning run intact clinching a five-goal thriller against Salgaocar FC 3-2, while Mohun Bagan exhibited fine form to oust arch-rivals East Bengal 2-0 in the final round of Under-20 I-League here Monday. In another match, Tata Football Academy brushed aside first-timer Sesa Football Academy 2-1.

    In the first match played at JRD Tata Sports Complex, Mohun Bagan shrugged off its lethargic approach and displayed an excellent football against East Bengal to earn the full three points. Bagan had played out 1-1 draw against Salgaocar in the first encounter of the final phase of the tournament on Saturday.

    The Kolkata outfit in green and maroon jersey were well in command over the proceedings and did not allow their opponents to take upper hand even though East Bengal put up a stiff challenge foiling the moves made by Mohun Bagan in the first half. As both the teams were scoreless at lemon-break, Mohun Bagan resorted to aggressive approach when the play resumed and surged ahead in the 61st minute through striker Prohlad Roy's goal.

    Roy converted an accurate chip from the left-flank to put the team in the lead. East Bengal players regrouped but rivals strong defense foiled their moves on each occasion. The mariners, who finished second to Sesa Goa in the league stage on point chart, were in their elements right from the kick off and outclassed the red and gold brigade. Mohun Bagan took control over the mid-field to extend the winning margin through a brilliant goal off striker Deepankar Pradhan in the injury time (90+2) to seal the match in their favour.

    The second match of the day saw a hard fought contest between Tata Football Academy (TFA) and Sesa Goa as both the teams failed to score in the first half. Playing before the home crowd, TFA defeated Sesa Goa 2-1 in the come-from-behind match. In the second half though the first timer Goan side exhibited a brilliant show throughout the 90 minutes of play. Sesa Goa surged ahead through in-form striker Mauvin Borges in the 66th minutes through a classy right footer from top of the 30-yard box, which left the TFA defenders and the goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh hapless.

    But they could not maintain the lead as the referee P Moses (Tamil Nadu) awarded TFA a penalty for committing handball by one of Sesa Goa player inside the small box in front of the post. Striker K Udanta Singh, who performed to the expectations in the I-league so far, fetch the equaliser ten minutes later, while forward Baidyanath Das, who had missed the last game as he was shown yellow cards twice, extended the lead through a header in the 83rd minutes. TFA captain-defender Jermanjeet Singh head off a corner kick deflected off the Sesa Goa defender and unmarked Das in the upfront converted through a head.

    TFA had played a 1-1 draw against East Bengal in the previous match of the final round. The third match at Gopal Maidan was also an exciting encounter. With a 3-2 victory over Salgaocar, the defending champion Pune FC now lead the chart with six points from two wins. Striker L William opened the account for Pune FC in 26th minute. Albino Pereira restored parity just before the lemon break through a nicely constructed move in the 43rd minute.

    Pune FC, which had beaten Sesa Goa in the previous match 2-1, retaliated and succeeded in taking the lead on the other side of the break with L William scoring the brace from the right flank in 55th minute. The lead was extended further by Nikhil Kadam on the 60th minute to make the score 3-1 in favour of the team from Pune. Salgaocar tried hard but couldn't find the net until a 85th minute strike from Melwin Fernandes reduced the margin. But by then it was too late.