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Ebin, Boniface spark Titanium's recovery

KOCHI, MAY 2. Just three minutes changed the face of the game. And saved many faces too. Down by two goals three minutes from close, Titanium authored a superb recovery to draw 2-2 with Punjab Police in the Second Division National Football League at the Nehru Stadium here on Sunday evening.

The brief period also helped the Thiruvananthapuram side, the Kerala inter-club championship runner-up, step out of ignominy as the weakest team in the five-team league. Titanium still occupies the last spot at the halfway stage but it has Punjab Police for company now.

The four goals came in two short spells, with Punjab Police finding the net in the 31st and 33rd minutes through Parminder Singh and Vijay Pal. And just when the cops seemed headed for an easy victory, came the strikes from Titanium's D. Ebin Rose and M. Boniface in the 88th and 89th minutes. The two teams now have one point each after three games.

Punjab Police came up with some smart wingplay this evening, with Harish Sharma on the left and Vijay Pal on the right advancing without much fuss and offering a steady stream of passes to Parminder, who has been in fine nick in this event.

Pal was the man behind Parminder's opening goal, a solid header in the 30th minute. And three minutes later, he was again in the thick of things. He took advantage of a lapse in the defence, barged into the box and sent home a scorcher.

Meanwhile, at the other end, the experienced medio Boniface kept slogging, stealing passes, dribbling past the rival challenge quickly and steadily feeding the forwards. But the attackers were not up to the mark. Captain T. Usman messed up a good offer in the 34th minute, shooting wide.

A change in the 73rd minute, with Rafi Jacob coming in place of K.T. Abdul Hameed, worked wonders. Rafi combined nicely with Ebin Rose, who had also come in as a substitute late in the first half, in the frontline. Clearly, the move pepped up the attack.

And in the 88th minute, Ebin Rose made good use of a Rafi offer from the right and came up with a superb header.

The goal inspired Titanium and a minute later, Boniface blasted home a long-ranger for the team's equaliser. For the midfielder, it was a just reward for all the good work. — Our Sports Reporter

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