Narzary nets brace and Norde rescues a point in Fed Cup
Bengaluru FC joined Mohun Bagan from Group B as well as Aizawl FC and East Bengal from Group A in the semi-finals of the 2017 Hero Federation Cup. Friday’s fixtures at the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack saw DSK Shivajians face Shillong Lajong, while Bengaluru took on Mohun Bagan. Both DSK and Bengaluru were tied on three points before the action got underway with the Mariners already guaranteed qualification to the semis.
DSK’s semis hopes, however, ended at the hands of Shillong, who beat the Pune-based outfit in a 3-2 thriller. Former NorthEast United FC midfielder Alen Deory gave Shillong the lead four minutes into the second period. DSK responded through super-sub Holicharan Narzary (NorthEast United FC) around about the hour mark when he finished with conviction from inside the penalty area to make it 1-1.
Redeem Tlang helped Shillong regain their lead soon after as he capitalised on a goalkeeping lapse and slotted into the net. The spirited DSK side weren’t about to go away without a fight as Shillong struggled to cope with mounting pressure in the closing stages. DSK finally broke their resistance by netting their second equaliser of the match six minutes from full-time.
It was once again Narzary who rippled the back of the net with an absolute screamer. His brace made for an exciting finish to the game with the game anyone's for the taking. Eventually it was the north-east side that went on to score the winner in the second minute of injury time and break DSK hearts. Samuel Lalmuanpuia struck the winning goal as they ended the group stage on a high.
Shillong’s win meant that a draw for Bengaluru in their match against Mohun Bagan would be enough for them to qualify for the semi-finals. The Blues surged into the lead after 11 minutes courtesy of a goal from former FC Goa midfielder Alwyn George. However, the Mariners levelled five minutes into the second half thanks to a Sony Norde special (Mumbai City FC).
The Haitian winger bamboozled defenders through his trickery and guile before rifling an angled effort into the far corner. Both teams went in search of a winner but the game ended 1-1, which ensured Bengaluru’s semis spot. The semi-finals scheduled for Sunday (May 14) will now witness Aizawl play Bengaluru and Mohun Bagan face East Bengal, as the two Kolkata heavyweights rekindle their rivalry in the iconic Kolkata derby for a spot in the Fed Cup final.