KOLKATA: Mohammedan Sporting Club have a chance to qualify for the final round of 2018/19 Hero 2nd Division League on the final match-day of preliminary round Group C but they will be up against an tricky Jamshedpur FC Reserves on Friday at the JRD Tata Sports Complex in Jamshedpur, kick-off 3 pm.
With Chhinga Veng FC (20 points) already booked their place in the final round, three teams in Group C are separated by just one point and Mohammedan SC with 13 points from 9 matches are ranked fourth, owing to an inferior head-to-head record with local-rivals Rainbow AC, who also have the same number of points. TRAU FC are a point above the both Kolkata outfits given they have amassed 14 points in their 9 games so far.
A week ago, the Black Panthers were odds on favourite to make it to the final round following three successive victories. They have scored 13 goals in those three matches and conceded none, however, they faced a massive set back in their previous match when they were beaten 0-2 by Rainbow AC and now have to depend on others to reach the final round.
The Black Panthers will qualify for the final round if and only if they leave the ground with all three points in their last match and other results go their way. Nonetheless, TRAU FC or Rainbow AC’s win will anyway leave the Black Panthers empty-handed irrespective of the result in the Steel City.
If TRAU and Rainbow drop points in their last matches which will be against Chhinga Veng and ATK Reserves respectively, the Black Panthers will be able to seal the final round berth for the first time since 2015/16 season with a win over Jamshedpur.
Should both Mohammedan SC and Rainbow win their games and TRAU lose or draw theirs then Rainbow will go though as they boast a better head to head record over Mohammedan SC.
Meanwhile, TRAU are the only team amongst the three who are not dependent on any other outcome to reach the final round if they secure all three points against Chhinga Veng. They can also get the job done with a draw or even worse given that other two outcomes in Jamshedpur and Kolkata go accordingly.
Nonetheless, should all three teams end their campaign with same points; still Rainbow would make it merry thanks to their better head-to-head records taking all three teams into consideration.
“It will be a tough match. Jamshedpur are a very good side,” claimed Raghunath Nandy, the technical director of Mohammedan SC. “I always tell the players to focus on the match but not on the league table. We prefer to go match by match and it will be same tomorrow. I am not doing any calculation; this is the last game so we have to get three points. Let’s see what happens next. I am only thinking what is under my control.”