Oil India, Minerva go through to I-Day Cup semis, TRAU ousted

NAGAON, ASSAM: Oil India Duliajan began their campaign in the 70th Independence Day Cup in Nagaon, Assam with a 3-0 win over TRAU FC at Nurul Amin Stadium on Tuesday.

The result meant Oil India along with Minerva Punjab book their place in the semifinals of the competition while TRAU found themselves facing an early exit from the competition.

Led by former Mohammedan Sporting Club coach Subrata Bhattacharya (Jr.), Oil India looked dangerous from the outset with Tulya Das, Milan Basumatary, Sirandeep Moran and William Gangte forming a four-pronged attack that kept TRAU’s defence well occupied.

Keeping TRAU in the game early on was the impressive Ashok Singh who came into goal for the Manipuri side and more than earned his start as he denied the quartet time and again.

Despite being under the pump, TRAU managed three shots on goal in the first-half, with one of those on target to test Nikhil Das in goal for the local outfit.

However, with Oil India putting relentless pressure on their opponent’s defence it wasn’t long before they had their opening goal courtesy of Tulya Das who sent the ball between Ashok Singh and his post in the 9th minute.

Oil India’s pressure yielded another goal in the very next minute when Milan Basumatary got on the score-sheet with an impressive solo effort.

Thereafter, Oil India dominated the game entirely but it was lack of finishing that saw them going into the breather leading 2-0.

Changing over, TRAU made a strong start with several early attempts on goal with a lot of the attacking threat coming from Netrajit Singh and Meiraba Mangang who kept Nikhil Das busy as they surged forward with pace and desire.

It proved equally as busy at the other end of the field for Ashok Singh as he tried to contain the pressure from Milan Basumatary and Tulya Das whose combined skill and power proved difficult to close down.

The back-and-forth continued in the second-half before Milan Basumatary put the result beyond any questions with a 71st-minute goal. The striker received the ball with his back to goal, turned to face and drilled low, creating a chance from nothing to surprise Ashok Singh.

Oil India kept on pushing forward and had two more close chances and it could have been worse for TRAU if it wasn’t for Ashok Singh who produced a number of crucial saves to limit the damage.

A late shout for a penalty could have seen TRAU getting a consolation goal, however the claims were denied by referee and TRAU were left to rue their numerous missed chances as they watched Oil India celebrate passage to the semi-finals.

Oil India now take on Minerva Punjab tomorrow in a match that will decide who tops Group B.

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