KALYANI: Mohammedan Sporting Club came from a goal down to beat Chennai City FC 2-1 in the Hero I-League on Tuesday at Kalyani Municipal Stadium.
Sujit Sadhu (55′) and Suraj Rawat (90+1′) were on target for the Black Panthers after Chennai had taken the lead through Ranjeet Singh Pandre (19′). Following the win Mohammedan climbed up to fifth on the league table with 13 points from 9 outings.
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
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 Chennai defence which looked organised and comfortable to dictate the pace of the match and limit Mohammedan’s options to counterattacks.
With Mohammedan struggling to open up Chennai’s well organised defence and the game opening up, Satyasagara’s charges sensed their opportunity on the counter. Against the run of play, Jishnu Balakrishnan beat Faisal Ali in a physical battle and sent in a low early cross. The ball bounced awkwardly leading to Eze Kingsley missing his clearance. The ball came to Ranjeet, who made no mistake from close range to put Chennai ahead in the 19th minute.
The setback galvanised Mohammedan into action and they poured forward in search of an equaliser. The Chennai defence, while under pressure at this stage, held firm and ensured that they retained the advantage.
Following the pause for half-time Mohammedan came straight out of the blocks controlling the ball, winning set pieces and keeping Chennai pinned into their own back third. Chennai were also reduced to 10 men in the 49th minute when defender Tarif Akhand shown a second yellow card for deliberately stopping the ball with his hand.
Mohammedan made full use of their numerical advantage and restored the parity in the 55th minute when Sadhu meet Firoj Ali’s cross from a corner and flicked his header past Kabir.
That goal was what Mohammedan needed as it gave them confidence against a side which had been running rings around them. With a couple of personnel changes, the Black Panthers started looking more and more competitive forcing Kabir and his back-line to work a little harder than they’d needed to in the first period.
The back and forth continued with Mohammedan slowly gaining more possession, and creating more chances as the started to dominate the midfield until eventually they got the break they were looking for when Tirthankar Sarkar set up John Chidi’s pass inviting a long-range shot. And Suraj sent a thunder bolt from 30 yards out into the back of the net to secure full three points for the Black Panthers.
Mohammedan will face Real Kashmir next on February 28 at Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan.