KOLKATA: Indian Arrows ended Mohammedan Sporting Club’s six-match unbeaten streak in the ongoing Hero I-League after beating them 1-0 on Sunday at Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan.
The Black Panthers didn’t need extra motivation to follow up their win against Gokulam Kerala with another winning performance which could send them level on points with second placed Real Kashmir.
However, Arrows had other ideas as defender Gurpanthjeet Singh found the net with a clinical header which handed Arrows their first win of the season.
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 Arrows defence which looked organised and comfortable to dictate the pace of the match and limit Mohammedan’s options to counterattacks.
Nonetheless, Mohammedan’s confidence slowly started to grow as the first-half unfolds. Possession-wise Mohammedan seemed to have the upper hand and certainly in terms of shots on goals the Black Panthers were keeping their opponent’s goalkeeper Ahaan Prakash much busier than their own custodian Subham Roy was.
The two sides continued to cancel each other in the middle of the whiles trying to break on the counter attack.
With Mohammedan struggling to open up Arrows’ well organised defence and the game opening up, Shanmugam Venkatesh’s charges sensed their opportunity on the counter. Against the run of play, Gurpanthjeet scored from Gurkirat Singh’s free-kick after Subham made a mess of what looked like a regular catch to give Arrows the lead in the 26th minute.
The setback galvanised Mohammedan into action and they poured forward in search of an equaliser. The Arrows defence, while under pressure at this stage, held firm and ensured that they retained the advantage.
Mohammedan came out of the sheds fired up to bring themselves back into contention, controlling the ball, winning set pieces and keeping Arrows pinned into their own back third.
Although Mohammedan remained determined to get back into the game, unfortunately the front line continued to fire off-target while Arrows started to establish a comfortable rhythm whenever they found themselves in possession making it tough for their opponents to impose their game.
Arrows were also clever throughout, using delaying tactics such as players going down for cramps to ensure the match was of a stop-start nature and prevent Mohammedan from finding their rhythm on attack.
As the clock counted down, Mohammedan threw everything they had to try and find a goal which would help them secure at least a deserved point, however Arrows held their nerves to narrowly edge past their rivals for a famous win to the delight of their coach Shanmugam Venkatesh.