JAMSHEDPUR: Mohammedan Sporting Club failed to capitalise on TRAU’s slip by playing to a 1-1 draw with a 10-man Jamshedpur FC reserves side on Saturday at Jamhsedpur, which ensured the Imphal-based side remained at the summit.
The Black Panthers started this match knowing that a win would take them on top of the table. The Kolkata giants were in that position thanks to TRAU’s 2-1 loss against Bengaluru FC resreves earlier in the day.
Even with that knowledge, Mohammedan SC weren’t aggressive enough against Jamshedpur, who played with 10-men for most of the game. Wael Ayan made a strong impression on his debut as the Syrian midfielder worked his socks off upfront, covering more ground than any other Mohammedan SC player as he also tracked back to help out defensively.
The match got off to a thrilling and flying start as both sides attacked each other relentlessly and created chances at both ends during the opening stages.
Jamshedpur took a early lead in the 4th minute through Prakash Naik who scored from close range. Prakash was complimented by some lazy defending by Mohammedan SC defenders especially Echezona Anichiye.
Nonetheless, the Black Panthers’ response came in the very next minute as striker Cho Lepcha scored a delightful goal to restore the parity for Mohammedan SC after getting the ball from midfield.
Having scored, Mohammedan SC continued to create chances but Jamshedpur defenders did not allow them any space inside the box and long range efforts were easily dealt by goalkepeer Harpreet Singh.
Meanwhile, Jamshedpur suffered a massive blow in the 42nd minute when midfield mainstay Mohammed Mobashir was given marching orders after the teenager harshly fouled Ayan to earn his second booking of the game.
However, Jamshedpur barely missed the midfielder for the remainder of the half as the visitors hardly threatened them, with Harpreet on holiday in goal as the first half ended 1-1.
Changing over, Mohammedan SC were clearly the better side in terms of possession and chances created, the Black Panthers will look back at the misfortune of having been denied by the woodwork twice in quick succession in the second half from the efforts of Tirthankar Sarkar and Ayan.
The first chance fell to Tirthankar but there was nothing he could do as his thunderous shot only managed the cross-bar with Harpreet beaten just after the hour mark.
A few minutes later, lady luck once again refused to smile on the Black Panthers as Ayan could only watch in disbelief when his close range shot ricocheted off the upright with Harpreet again beaten.
Jamshedpur had their few moments on the attack with the likes of Prakash and Baset Hansdah leading the way but they could not find the back of the net.
Mohammedan SC finished the match stronger, attacking with more intent – something they should have done from the onset, as their defence has consistently gave them good cover through out the second half.
The Black Panthers, who have 9 points from 6 matches, will face Chennayin FC rererves next on April 25, 2018 at Chennai.