GUWAHATI: Mohammedan Sporting Club beat 2nd Division League rivals TRAU FC 2-1 to make it three wins from three in Group B of the 2018 Bordoloi Trophy on Friday.
Midfielders Satyam Sharma (24′) and Sumit Ghosh (33′) were on target for Mohammedan SC while Ngangbam Naocha (39′) pulled a goal back for TRAU at Nalbari’s Mukalmua Stadium.
Having already assured their place in the semi-finals Mohammedan SC were able to make six changes to the side that defeated Baarhoongkha FC 3-1 in the previous round.
Despite the changes, Black Panthers still fielded a strong side and were quick to settle into their rhythm to dictate the tempo of the game with TRAU keeper Ashok Singh called into early action, but the Manipuri outfit were soon putting pressure of their own on their opponents.
The flair and pace that has become a hallmark of Manipuri football was evident as the Mohammedan SC back-line struggled to close down the attacks.
But the height and power of Prosenjit Paul with Ashim Kumar Dey at his side, was enough to keep the likes of Princewill Emeka and Naocha at bay.
Having missed a host of chances till the 20th minute mark, Black Panthers finally broke the deadlock in the 24th minute when Satyam slotted a free-kick home from 20 yards to make it 1-0.
Having scored, Mohammedan SC increased their pressure and attacked the rival goal ferociously going close on a few occasions. Nine minutes later, Mohammedan SC’s pressure yielded another goal when Sumit got on the scoresheet after some brilliant team work.
However, TRAU never once looked like giving up as the Manipuri side continued to put pressure on the Mohammedan SC back-line and were finally rewarded following a defensive error on the part of Mohammedan SC as Naocha halved the deficit in the 39th minute.
It proved the confidence boost TRAU needed, while having the opposite effect on Mohammedan SC. The chances for TRAU started flowing, however, Mohammedan SC contained the rampant TRAU until referee blew the half-time whistle with scoreline read 2-1 in Mohammedan SC’s favour.
TRAU continued with that momentum as they came out for the second-half and forced Mohammedan SC keeper Sourav Chakraborty into making a number of goal-denying saves.
Nonetheless, the lack of finishing in the attacking third and outstanding defending from Black Panthers meant TRAU could not find a goal as reward for their early dominance.
TRAU seemed like they might get the equalizer they so desperately sought with a couple of decent forays into their opponent’s half, however they were repeatedly denied by Mohammedan SC, and forced to deal with a wave of rapid counter attacks.
Despite a strong showing in the last 15 minutes, TRAU couldn’t find the goal they desired to at least salvage a point from the match to top the group and were forced to watch on as their opponents celebrated victory on this occasion.
Mohammedan SC coach Raghunath Nandy was happy with his side’s performance.
“I am very pleased with the nine points. I made a lot of changes to the team, I have used the whole squad and rested a few key players that were on booking and that was important for the group. I thought today it was a solid performance,” he said.