ONCG qualified for the semifinals of the Durand Cup for the first time in their history after inflicting a shock defeat on I-League runners-up Pune FC 2-1, here on Friday.
Dashing Nigerian striker Henry Ezeh scored twice, a penalty kick conversion in the 59th minute and a brilliant solo goal a minute later. A depleted Pune FC reduced the margin in the 62nd minute when substitute striker Diganta Khaddar found the net off a deflection in the quarterfinal league round match.
ONGC topped Group IV with six points from two matches. Army Red (three points) and Pune FC (0 points) were eliminated.
ONGC will now meet the winners of Group 2, either Indian Navy or Bhawanipur in the semifinal on September 17 at the Ambedkar Stadium.
Fancied Kolkata outfit, Bhawanipur, which included former Mohun Bagan legend Jose Ramirez Baretto in their line-up were held to a goalless draw by tenacious Indian Navy in another Group 2 match.
Indian Navy now top this group with four points from two matches. Bhawanipur are second with one point from one match. They need to beat holders Air India by a three-goal margin in their last quarter final league match on Sunday to qualify for the semi final.
Tomorrow, popular Mohammedan Sporting will take on Kolkata rivals Kalighat Milan Sangha in a must-win match. Both teams are on three points.
Kalighat, however, has a superior goal difference of plus 3 as compared to Mohammedan Sporting's goal difference of plus 2.
Mohammedan Sporting would look to start on a fast pace and include both attacking foreigners Tolgay Ozbey and Penn Orji in their starting line-up.