On a day of upsets, in the 128th Durand Cup, Services outfits Indian Navy and Army Red upset fancied Minerva FC (Chandigarh) and former champions Dempo FC at the Ambedkar Stadium in New Delhi on Thursday.
In Pool B, Dempo is now in a precarious position with one point from three matches. Neroca FC of Manipur is topping the group with four points from two matches along with Army Red which also has the same number of points.
In Pool A, highly rated Minerva FC has lost both their matches and is also on the brink of elimination. Indian Navy now has four points from two matches. DSK Shivajians has won both games so far and tops Pool A with six points from two matches.
Group leaders DSK Shivajians FC will be up against Indian Navy in a unique first when they square off against the unbeaten Indian Navy on Friday.
A victory for the Pune-based club will cement their position at the top of the table in Group A and significantly increase their chances of progressing into the semi-finals.
Playing spirited football, Indian Navy scored three goals in the first half to leave Minerva FC gasping. Striker Pawandeep Singh took advantage of the fragile Minerva defence and scored a brace in the 30th and 37th minutes.
Substitute Lalchauanmawia made it 3-0 in the 40th minute. Minerva had former international Clifford Miranda on the flanks but Indian Navy held firm to win 3-0.
The second match was a battle of attrition. Midfielder C. Lallianmawia put Army Red ahead in the 52nd minute. Dempo midfielder Mario Mascerenhas equalised 15 minutes later. Army Red attacked with gusto and Dempo goalkeeper Tyson Caiado made some vital saves.
In the fourth minute of added time, Army Red defender Francis Zonunthnga took a rising shot from outside the box and it sailed into the net past the unsighted Dempo goalkeeper Caiado.
Bad day for Goan Teams
Later in the day, fancied Sporting Clube de Goa were upset 1-2 by Army Green in a closely fought Pool A match. With this defeat Sporting Clube de Goa is in danger of elimination as they have just one point from three matches. The Bangalore-based Army Green now have four points from two matches.
Army Green forged ahead in the 53rd minute when their Mizo striker and skipper PC Lallawmkima slotted home a penalty kick. Five minutes later following a combined move he evaded goalkeeper Ravi Kumar and placed the ball in.
Sporting reduced the margin in the 82nd minute when substitute George D'Souza bundled in a free-kick. Army Green eventually defended to hold onto the win.