There is no stopping ONGC at home. After getting the better of East Bengal in the previous round, the Santosh Kashyap coached side edged past Salgaocar in the 16th round I League encounter here at the Ambedkar Stadium on Saturday.
F. Lalmuanpuia's goal minutes into the second half turned out to be the winner in an otherwise evenly matched contest. Yusa Katsumi, whose jinking run in the 75th minute almost doubled the tally for the hosts, was awarded the Man of Match for the second consecutive time.
For the visitors, Marcus Mascarenhas muffed one of the easiest chances of the season, failing to convert from six yards after Royoston D'Souza had set him perfectly. The win takes ONGC to 19 points from 15 outings while Salgaocar remain on 11 points playing one match less.
While the second half was eventful, the first half saw nothing happening for either side. Among the few notable chances, ONGC custodian Rehenesh's double save deserves a mention.
In the 36th minute, a Quinton Jacobs header off a Randeep Singh cross was expertly fisted away by Rehenesh. He was called into action again seconds later when Randeep tried his luck on the rebound.
There was a slight scare for the hosts midway into the first essay when their in-form Japanese import Yusa Katsumi was roughly tackled by Jacobs. A limping Katsumi took the resultant free kick which created little flutter inside the dreaded area.
(Image courtesy: AIFF Media)