KALIMPONG: It was not the prettiest of performances from an Mohammedan Sporting Club team that will start their Hero 2nd Division League campaign in less than three weeks, but they’ll be happy about progressing to the finals of the 2018 GTA Chairman’s Gold Cup final after beating Oil India by 2-0 at Mela Ground in Kalimpong on Friday.
This was the third meeting between these two teams in past two months and with both teams knowledgeable about the other, they played the better part of the first stanza with caution. Play was interchanged in the middle of the park, and both teams had the same strategy of playing in transition instead of delivering crosses in the boxes.
Nonetheless, Mohammedan SC were the first to launch attacks, as Snehasish Dutta’s dazzling overlapping runs looking dangerous during the early stages.
Mohammedan SC’s momentum was interrupted occasionally when Oil India managed to take play up into the opposition half on the break, the first of which came in the seventh when Tulya Das try to play a through ball to the on-running Jayanta Basumatary, but the latter arrived late.
As the clock wound down in the first-half, most of the play had taken place at the heart of the field and the goalkeepers had less to do, only called into action when taking goal kicks.
However, a moment of sheer brilliance by Philip Adjah and a clinical finish by Pankaj Moula opened the scoring for Mohammedan SC in the 16th minute.
Having taken the lead, Mohammedan SC got a much needed confidence boost and they increased their pressure up front dominating the game entirely. Despite creating numerous scoring opportunities it was lack of finishing that saw first-half ended 1-0.
Oil India started the second-half stronger, in the opening 10 minutes Oil India continued to impose themselves on the game without reward as Laltu Mondal, between the sticks, held out to good efforts.
The Black Panthers also got a few times close to getting the second goal and looked dangerous on the set-pieces, but the ball didn’t find the back of the net.
Meanwhile, Oil India really struggled to find their footing in the game as Mohammedan SC looked comfortable to sit back and hold onto the ball.
Mintu Boro was introduced by Oil India coach Subrata Bhattacharya (Jr.) in the closing stages of the game as the Dhulijan-based side looked to snatch a late equalizer.
Despite the momentum turning in Oil India’s favour, Mohammedan SC fought back to add a second when Pjilip Adjah slotted home from close range after rounding Oil India goalkeeper Nihal Das in the 90th minute to put the result beyond questions.
In the stoppage time Mohammedan SC’s Rakesh Karmakar and Oil India’s Tulya Das were given marching order.
The final will be played on Sunday between Mohammedan SC and East Bengal at Darjeeling.
Mohmmedan SC Line-up: Laltu Mondal, Kamran Farooque, Prosenjit Pual, Seydou Mady, Snehasish Dutta, Prosenjit Chakraborty, Pankaj Moula, Rakesh Karmakar, Gatch Arthur Diomande, Philip Adjah Tetteh, Sumit Das.