BENGALURU: Mohammedan Sporting Club eased past Bengaluru FC Reserves 3-1 in their Group B fixture of the 2019/20 Hero 2nd Division League at Bangalore Football Stadium on Tursday.
John Chidi (41′, 75′ & 88′) scored a hat-trick for Mohammedan while Biswa Kumar Darjee (PG – 74′) scored the only goal for the hosts.
Going into the match Mohammedan coach Saheed Ramon made three changes to side by handing starts to Shafiul Rahman, who was suspended against Chennaiyin, Satyam Sharma and Sanjib Ghosh at the expenses of Sourav Das, Tirthankar Sarkar and Vikas Saini, while skipper Musa Mudde started as centre-back partnering Prosenjit Paul.
Despite some quick and accurate passes from both sets of players, neither side was able to establish dominance over the midfield during the early stages which made for an end-to-end, open encounter.
Mohammedan were pressing high without the ball, trying to put pressure on the Bengaluru defence which looked organised and comfortable to dictate the pace of the match and limit the Mohammedan’s options to counterattacks.
Playing out from the back, Black Panthers were looking to connect with target-man John Chidi but Jagdeep Singh, at the centre of Bengaluru defence, had little trouble defusing the searching long balls and crosses aimed at the forward.
By midway through the first period Bengaluru were piling on the pressure. Bekay Oram and Emanuel Lalchhanchhuaha led Bengaluru’s offensive efforts but like their opponents, failed to be as lethal as they needed to be in front of goal.
Inevitably, failing to convert their chances came back to haunt Bengaluru as Black Panthers took the lead in the 41st minute minute with Chidi smashing home to punish some hesitant defending.
Mohammedan’s spirits were lifted by the goal and they played out the final moments of the first-half with a lot of energy, which they brought with them when they returned from the break.
Going into the second-half, Black Panthers continued to apply pressure and made some decent runs forward. Bengaluru, however, are not a side to give up lightly and despite trailing kept the intensity high, and the pressure on their opponents as they battled to find a way back into the match.
Nonetheless, the lack of finishing in the attacking third and outstanding defending from Mohammedan meant Bengaluru could not find a goal as reward for their early dominance.
However, an unrelenting Bengaluru side kept the pressure on their opponents and eventually managed to restore the parity in the 74th minute when Biswa converted from the spot after Hira Mondal tackled Oram inside the box.
Nonetheless, Bengaluru’s joy was short-lived as Mohammedan regained their lead in the very next minute when Chidi reached on the end of a long ball from the deep and calmly put the ball past Bengaluru custodian Aditya Patra.
Eight minutes later Mohammedan got a penalty of their own when Johnson Singh committed handball inside the box, however, substitute Vikas Saini wasted a golden opportunity to put the game to bed by blasting his penalty conversion attempt over the crossbar.
But luckily for the Black Panthers, Chidi was at the right place again just minutes later to burst the net with a well-struck drive to complete his hat-trick.
Following this win, Mohammedan remained on the top of the Group B with 12 points from 6 matches and will host Hyderabad FC Reserves next on March 17 at Kalyani Stadium.