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Air India regain Elite Div crown

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Mumbai, April 29: Air India regained the Elite Division crown following their 1-1 draw with defending champions ONGC (Oil & Natural Gas Corporation) in their concluding match of the MDFA League 2017 and played under floodlights at the Cooperage ground late on Friday evening. Both the goals came in the second half from penalties with Vijith Shetty scoring for Air India in the 59th minute and Nitesh Monde getting ONGC’s equaliser in the 65th minute.

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Both Air India and ONGC were unbeaten, but the former clinched the title by virtue of finishing with 23 points from seven wins and two draws. ONGC with 21 points from six wins and three draws, finished runners-up.

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Having finished third behind ONGC and Mumbai FC last season, Air India put up a determined display and waged a grim battle with the oilmen and despite both the sides showing plenty of purpose and intent. They created quite few openings and made a couple of attempts at goal, but the first half ended goalless.rnAfter switching ends, Air India earned a penalty in the 58th minute and seasoned midfielder Shetty coolly converted with a low shot to the left corner and goalkeeper C.K. Ubaid going th wrong way.

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However, Air India’s lead was immediately neutralised as six minutes later ONGC found the target when Monde made no mistake from the penalty spot.rnThereafter, ONGC applied plenty of pressure on the Air India defence but they were unable to do any damage and get the crucial winner.

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Meanwhile in a Second Division semi-final match, Rahul Mitra Mandal got the better of Skorost FC 3-1 via the tie-breaker after the matches ended in a goalless draw at the St. Xavier’s ground, Parel. In the final, Rahul Mitra mandal will take on Tarun Sporting FC who had defeated Colaba Sports Academy by a 3-2 margin also via the penalty shootout tie-breaker.

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rnResults – Elite Div: Air India 1 (Vijith Shetty 59th–pen) drew with ONGC 1 (Nitesh Monde 65th–pen).rn