Mumbai: Air India overwhelmed Bangalore's Hindustan Aeronautics Limited 3-1 to join city rivals Mahindra United at the top of the National Football League table. The goal scorers for the winners, who led 2-1 at half-time, were Bashiru Abbas (33rd minute), Noel Fernandes (41st) and Narendra Meetei (68th). Captain Xavier Vijay Kumar scored the lone goal for the Bangalore team in the 43rd minute. African striker Abbas scored with a spectacular scissor kick off a throw-in from Uttam Singh that reached him via defender Pawan Kumar to give Air India the lead after they looked bereft of ideas in front of the rival goal for some time. Another fine goal, this time hooked with his right foot by Fernandes to take advantage of a lovely goalmouth centre by Abbas put the Mumbai outfit 2-0 in front before HAL reduced the margin when Xavier slotted in an angular shot from the right through a maze of legs two minutes from half-time. Later Meetei rounded off the tally by nodding in with a lunge at a free kick taken by speedy winger Paresh Shivalkar through a crowded defence. The victory, their second in three matches, took Air India to seven points, the same as defending champions Mahindra while HAL remained on one point from three ties. Air India take on Federation Cup winners Mohun Bagan next on January 20 while HAL clash with another Kolkata outfit Mohammedan Sporting on January 22.
Topics : Football