KOLKATA: Luckless Mohammedan Sporting Club were held to a 1-1 draw by Sports Authority of India (SAI) East Zone in their Kolkata Zonal Round encounter of the ongoing U-18 I-League 2017/18 on Monday.
The hosts took the lead in the 19th minute through striker Rohit Tigga, before Mohammedan SC’s Sovan Sen cancelled the advantage in the 57th minute at SAI Complex in Kolkata.
The result did not trouble statisticians as SAI continue to lead the standings with 10 points from 4 games while Mohammedan SC are on third with 5 points from 3 games.
The talking point from the exciting first-half was the performance of the referee, Sandip Kumar Maiti, who somehow let SAI off with some rough challenges, while also managing to pick out light fouls committed by Mohammedan SC.
The Young Panthers enjoyed possession in the final third in the opening stages of the match as they looked to penetrate the SAI defense but they could not find an opening.
While Mohammedan SC pressed high up, opponents SAI managed to take the lead against the run of the play at the other end. Rohit capitalized on a defensive error to beat Mohammedan SC custodian Syed Abdul Bin Qadir with a header from close range.
Having conceded, The Young Panthers began attacking with intensity through Sovan, Debraj Rakshit and Nikhil Kisku, but SAI managed to hold on defending deep as the first-half ended 1-0.
Mohammedan SC came out all guns blazing in the second-half as they attacked by pushing high up. The pressure paid off as the Young Panthers finally managed to equalize in the 57th minute. Debraj Rakshit held off a defender on the left flank and floated in a cross to the far post finding Sovan, who headed the ball into the back of the net to make it 1-1.
For the longest time after the equalizer, the Young Panthers bombarded SAI’s penalty box with cross after cross, but they were well dealt with by the SAI back-line, although there was nearly a costly touch by SAI defender Madan Mandi, who inadvertently laid the ball onto the feet of Nikhil, who scuffed his shot and failed to score, as both teams had to settle for a draw.
Mohammedan SC would host United Sports Club next on December 25 at Rajpur Sonarpur Ground.