Black Panthers crown Gold Cup champions

BODOLAND, KOKRAJHAR, ASSAM: Mohammedan Sporting Club clinched the title in the 19th Bodoland Martyrs Gold Cup after beating Oil India 5-4 in a penalty shootout following a thrilling 0-0 draw on Sunday night.

It was an exceptional final with everything the thousands of fans who packed themselves into KDSA Stadium in Bodoland, Assam could have asked for.

Mohammedan SC started the brighter of the two teams and should have gone ahead; however, skipper Philip Adjah proved wasteful in his efforts, despite being put through on goal twice.

It was almost all Mohammedan SC for the first ten minutes, but as the match commenced Oil India slowly imposed their style on the match, slowing it in the midfield and then attacking into the final third at pace. They looked particularly dangerous through the overlapping runs of Jayanta Basumatary.

Nonetheless, Charles Atcha came closest to breaking the deadlock for Mohammedan SC in the 31st minute when he rose highest to head Safiul Rahman’s ball into the area; however, Oil India goalkeeper Nihal Das tipped the powerful effort on to the crossbar.

Then Adjah came close to opening the scoring with a fine 25-yard volley, but his effort narrowly missed the post as both teams went into the break scoreless.

The second-half saw Oil India starting to look more comfortable amongst themselves, with some great strings of passes pieced together in the middle, but they struggled to find that killer final pass.

Sourav Chakraborty, who got the nod for this match over Laltu Mondal, put in a stellar performance. The gloveman commanded his penalty area and was able to halt some powerful efforts from Oil India’s Tulya Das and William Gangte.

Also playing out of his skin today was Prosenjit Pal who managed the back-line with finesse and made a couple of incredibly crucial tackles to halt Sirandeep Moran, which Mohammedan SC really needed him to make.

Thereafter, the home side continued to probe and made an attacking substitution in search of the goal as Geremsha Basumatary replaced Tridip Hazarika in the 69th minute.

As the match progressed Oil India did all the attacking and it took everything Mohammedan SC had left in their tank to deny the onslaught from Oil India. Sourav also made a number of telling saves to keep his side in the contest.

At full-time with the teams deadlocked the match headed to directly to a penalty shootout where Black Panthers proved to be better shooters and prevailed 5-4.

Oil India was first up and both teams nailed their first two kicks. However, Sourav continued his heroics by halting the third kick from Oil India, and with Mohammedan SC slotting their remaining kicks, they were crowned winners of the 19th Bodoland Martyrs Gold Cup.

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