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2016 Durand Cup | Result
Match 23
DsK Army Green
2 1
6',9' Juan Quero (P) 36' Herojit Singh
04:00 PM | 05/09/2016
Venue: Harbaksh Stadium, New Delhi
DSK Shivajians FC won a do-or-die encounter against Army Green 2-1 in their final Pool A game as they secure their maiden Semi Final berth in their Cup debut.

After suffering a close defeat a day earlier, DSK Shivajians took no time in burying the past aside and looking forward. Two penalty kick conversions by Spanish winger and skipper Juan Quero (6th and 9th minutes) proved decisive, but not before clinical second half defending that led to DSK Shivajians emerging victorious. 

Army Green could only pull one back via Herojit Singh (36th minute). This was Shivajian's third win in the tournament which also includes a loss and a draw. They end at the top of Pool A Points table with 10 points in 5 games.

Manager Dave Rogers made as many as seven changes to the playing XI which included, goalkeeper Rakshit Dagar, Sairuat Kima, Rohit Kumar, Shane McFaul and the return of injured Zohmingliana Ralte and Gagandeep Singh. Youngster Hitova Ayemi earned his first start of the tournament. 

It was a perfect start for DSK Shivajians FC when, in the sixth minute, Army Green defender handled the ball in the box to give away a penalty kick. Captain Juan Quero stepped up to take the penalty, and calmly slotted it on the goalkeeper’s left to give DSK Shivajians an early lead. 

Three minutes later, a similar incident resulted in the referee awarding DSK Shivajians with another penalty. Quero stepped up again and slotted it in the back of the net after sending goalkeeper the wrong way to double DSK Shivajians’ lead early on in the match. 

It took some time for Army Green to re-group as their first proper attack came in the form of Linesh, in the 16th minute, crossing in a swinging ball from the flank, but, to his dismay, there were no Army Green attackers in the box to take the opportunity. 

As Army started piling on the pressure, DSK Shivajians’ defenders also raised their game. Returning Zohmingliana Ralte made brilliant back-to-back interventions to deny Herojit going past the back line. 

Two minutes later, Hitova Ayemi, starting his first game, ran past the Army defence with the ball, but his final shot was just inches away from the target. The Nagaland-player was at it again five minutes later when he again beat a couple of defenders in the Army box but dragged his final shot through the ground for the goalkeeper to collect. 

For long spells DSK Shivajians held possession, however, it was Army Green who netted next goal. Quero's fumble deep out led to the opponents taking advantage and thumping up the ball onto the edge of the box. Gaining possession from this was Herojit Singh, who shrugged off Ralte and poked the ball in the goal as Rakshit paced forward to collect it. 

At 2-1, Army Green mounted on the pressure on DSK Shivajians in the closing stages of the first half. Just before half time, DSK Shivajians had a close moment when Bikash broke through the defence and headed the ball towards 'keeper Rakshit Dagar in a one-on-one situation, which the latter did well to grab and control. 

The first half ended at 2-1 for DSK Shivajians FC. 

DSK Shivajians started the second half like they started the first, with a bright spark. In the 48th minute, Arif Shaikh tried to play a one-two with Quero through a header, but Linesh was on his guard and cleared the danger immediately. 

Four minutes later Amey Ranawade played a long ball down the flank towards Hitova, but before the youngster could get to it, Subhash Payengu got hold of the ball and kicked it out for a throw in. 

Moments later, Hitova was sent through on goal by Arif from the midfield. The former rounded off the keeper and attempted but an off the line clearance by Boby Chand saved his team from slipping further. 

In the 62nd minute, Uttam Das penetrated the DSK Shivajians’ defence and played the ball into Lallawmkina, however, with only the goalkeeper to beat, he misplaced his shot, and the ball went over the bar. 

The 70th minute of the match Nanish Singh cut inside Rohit Kumar, who was filling up for the injured Amey, to unleash a shot, but Rakshit was well in line to stabilise the situation and deny Army an equaliser. 

Twelve minutes from time, Arif Shaikh passed the ball to Vanlalremkima, who spotted a charging Rohit Kumar on the flank and tried to play a through ball to him, but had too much power behind it as it ran away from Rohit. 

Last ten minutes of the match saw a defensive masterclass from DSK Shivajians as they halted all the attempts made by Army team by sustaining pressure and clearing their lines. Lalnunsiama stepped up to avert multiple attempts.

The match finished with a scoreline of 2-1 in favour of the of the Pune based club, who make it to the semi-final of the Durand Cup in their debut. They will play against Pool B Runner's Up in the Semi-final on September 9.

With Inputs from DSK Shivajians Media

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