GANGTOK, SIKKIM: Mohammedan Sporting Club edged past Sikkim Police FC 1-0 to set up a showdown with Sikkim Himalayan FC for the 39th Sikkim Governor’s Gold Cup crown.
In a game that didn’t had many open scoring chances Charles Atcha scored the only goal of the match in the 27th minute.
It was a tentative start to the second semifinal from both sides at Paljor Stadium in Gangtok on Sunday afternoon with the magnitude of what was at stake foremost in their minds.
The opening 10 minutes was a rather scrappy affair, with both teams unable to hold onto the ball long enough to create any decent scoring opportunities.
The first effort on goal only came in the 13th minute, when Sarra Camara met a left-sided cross from Sujoy Dutta, but he headed his effort wide of the rival goal.
Four minutes later Charles came bitterly close to opening the lead but his close range effort was superbly saved by the Sikkim Police custodian Bipen Bhattrai.
Charles then continued to terrorize the Sikkim Police defense, setting up another two chances for Camara, but the former Dhaka Abahani forward squandered both.
Mohammedan SC, thereafter, continued to press on, and it was no surprise when they took the lead in the 27th minute though Charles.
It was a goal made in football heaven, involving a glorious passing movement featuring a number of players, and with classic one-touch football, they carved open the Sikkim Police defense, leaving the Ivorian with a simple tap-in.
From the goal onwards, Black Panthers dominated the proceedings, but poor decision-making let them down in the final third which saw Dipendu Biswas’ charges went into the breather with only a solitary goal lead.
The second-half saw Mohammedan SC continue to attack with ease, but Bipen kept his side in the contest with a number of fine saves, including one to deny Charles his brace in the 47th minute.
However, some sloppy defending from the Black Panthers eight minutes into the second-half gave Sikkim Police the chance to equalize, but goalkeeper Priyant Singh did very well as he came out to block Bir Bahadur Pradhan from close range, before Sanjeev Rai missed the target on the follow-up.
Mohammedan SC then took the ball up to the opposite end of the pitch and looked set to double their lead when Camara arrived unmarked in the box to get on the end of a cross by Tirthankar Sarkar, but his header was brilliantly tipped over the crossbar by Bipen.
As the match progressed Sikkim Police did all the attacking and it took everything Mohammedan SC had left in their tank to deny the onslaught from the locals. Priyant also made a number of telling saves to ensure his team’s passage to the final.
The Black Panthers will face Sikkim Himalayan FC in the grand final on Tuesday.