Category: Football

BLACK PANTHERS SEEK REVIVAL UNDER NEW COACH

BANGALORE: Mohammedan Sporting Club will seek a revival of fortunes under new coach Mridul Banerjee when they take on Bengaluru FC ‘B’ in a must win Group C fixture of the 2017/18 Hero 2nd Division League at the Bangalore Football Stadium on Sunday.

Mridul Banerjee takes over the reins of the team after previous incumbent Biswajit Bhattacharya put in his papers following a five-match winless streak which leaves them on fourth place in Group C with nine points from seven matches, five points shy of leaders TRAU.

“We have to overcome this difficult phase with hard work. Players are fully aware that what happened in last few matches is simply unacceptable for a club of Mohammedan SC’s magnitude and stature. The first thing I need to do with the players is to reinforce them mentally, to make them mentally stronger. Once the head is okay, then everything else will take care of itself. The important thing is injecting them with elements of self-belief and self-confidence.” Coach Banerjee said.

“We need to prepare for the race till the end because the difference between top and bottom teams is not that big. Definitely it’s difficult but not impossible we need to give our best shot,” he added.

Although Coach has mentioned that it’s literally impossible to make any drastic changes in just 48 hours but judging by Mohammedan SC’s training session on Saturday, the former defender has definitely succeeded to inject positive energy in the side that has lost the fighting spirit and will to win.

Hopes of a revival in fortunes will be brightened further by the arrival of former skipper Rana Gharami and midfield mainstay Sheikh Faiaz who returned to the side after a impressive Hero I-League campaign for Mohun Began. However, strikers Jiten Murmu and Fikru Lemessa are out nursing injuries.

Mohammedan SC’s mental resolve will be tested by a Bengaluru FC side who will be eager to bounce back on the winning ways having suffred a 3-0 home defeat to Langsning FC in their last outing.

YOUNG PANTHERS SET TO BEGIN FINAL ROUND CAMPAIGN AGAINST JUNIOR EAGLES

KOLKATA: Mohammedan Sporting Club will begin their campaign at the Final Round of the inaugural Under-13 Youth League 2017/18 at the Barasat Stadium on Sunday.

The Young Panthers have been grouped with Dempo Sports Club and Shillong Lajong FC in Group B. The winners of each group and the best second-placed team will qualify for the semifinals.

“We are up against two of the best youth teams in India. The fact is both Dempo and Lajong will be difficult opponent but it does not intimidate us. Rather, it inspires respect and my players will be up to the task. We will take one match at a time,” said Head Coach Ananta Kumar Ghosh.

Mohammedan SC begins their campaign against Dempo 29th April at Barasat before facing Lajong on 3rd May at Howrah Stadium, both matches will kick-off at 4:00 pm.

BISWAJIT BHATTACHARYA PART WAYS ON MUTUAL CONSENT, MRIDUL BANERJEE TO TAKE CHARGE

KOLKATA: Mohammedan Sporting Club have appointed Mridul Banerjee as their new Head Coach, after parting ways with Biswajit Bhattacharya.

Mohammedan SC, former Head Coach Biswajit Bhattacharya and Goalkeeper Coach Partha Chakraborty have reached an agreement to terminate their working relationship on mutual consent.

Mridul Banerjee, who led the Black Panthers to the second place finish in 2016/17 Calcutta Football League before winning the 2017 Santosh Trophy with Bengal state team, has been appointed as replacement with immediate effect and his first assignment will be a must-win away tie against Bengaluru FC ‘B’ on Sunday.

“I would like to thank the Mohammedan Sporting Club Officials for the opportunity to once again allow me to lead this great club and hope that I will be able to bring back a smile to our incredible and loyal supporters.” Coach Banerjee said.

“There are many talented players in the team and I believe with the right guidance, I will be able to get the best out of them,” he added.

“We believe Mridul Banerjee is the right man for the job. He is no stranger to the club and clearly understands our philosophy of playing attractive and winning football. Mridul Banerjee will be given all the support he needs to take the club forward.” said Mohammedan Sporting Club General Secretary, Mr. Ghazal Uz Zafar.

He also thanked Biswajit Bhattacharya and Partha Chakraborty for their contribution to the Black Panthers.

“We would like to wish Mr. Biswajit Bhattacharya and Mr. Partha Chakraborty the best of luck in their future endeavors, we thank them for the time spent with us.” Mr. Zafar mentioned.

Meanwhile, former skipper Rana Gharami and midfield mainstay Sheikh Faiaz have also returned after leaving the Club following 2017/18 Calcutta Football League and will be joining the squad at Bangalore tonight alongside Coach Banerjee.

MOHAMMEDAN SC STUNNED BY CHENNAIYIN

CHENNAI: Mohammedan Sporting Club remain unmoved in the Group C of Hero 2nd Division League after they suffered a disappointing 1-0 defeat against Chennaiyin FC reserves at the SSN College Ground in Chennai on Wednesday evening.

It was not a desirable result for the Black Panthers, who extended their winless steak to five matches.

The visitors started to get a foothold in the contest after a cagey opening, as Fikru Lemessa, Wael Ayan and Dipendu Dowary all drew routine saves out of Chennaiyin custodian Samik Mitra.

Fikru had a close chance around the 20th minute mark but Samik was equal to the task by palming his long-range strike behind the goal.

While, Mohammedan SC pressed high up it was Chennaiyin who took the lead in the 35th minute through Prasenjit Chakraborty. The striker skipped past defender Dalraj Singh before slotting past the on-rushing Subham Roy with a low shot at the near post.

Having conceded, Mohammedan SC didn’t take charge, allowing Chennaiyin to get into the match and grow in confidence with each passing minute.

Changing over, Mohammedan SC showed more endeavour in attack but they were unable to breach a home defence expertly marshalled by Sarif Khan and Hendry Antonay.

Coach Biswajit Bhattacharya introduced Tirthankar Sarkar for Ainish Zamadar midway through the half to show the club’s intentions by bringing in a midfielder for a defender.

Even with that added fire power which included Amir Hossain towards the end Mohammedan SC still didn’t test Samik. Black Panthers finished this match with seven attacking players – Fikru, Ayan, Cho Lepcha, Amir, Dowary, Tirtahnkar and Satyam Sarma – yet they still didn’t find the back of the net which sums up their season. Their defence has been strong but the attackers have failed to complement them.

Mohammedan SC, who are on fourth place in the log with 9 points from 7 matches, will play their next match against second placed Bengaluru FC “B” on April 29, 2018 at Bangalore Football Stadium.

BLACK PANTHERS SET TO FIGHT FOR ALL THEIR WORTH

CHENNAI: Mohammedan Sporting Club Head Coach Biswajit Bhattacharya is not throwing in the towel yet even though his side has failed to win their last four matches in the 2017/18 Hero 2nd Division League.

The Black Panthers take on Chennaiyin FC reserves midweek at the SSN College Ground in Chennai for a game described by Bhattacharya as a decisive match for their future in the league.

He said the team must shape up and start getting results as things might get tougher for them if they drop points in any of their remaining four fixtures.

The former striker told mohammedansportingindia.com, “This is a game we have to win at all costs. We are here only for three points, nothing else.”

Bhattacharya knows Mohammedan SC will have a tough test on their hands, both in trying to overcome Chennaiyin on the field and in bearing the weight of expectation from the Black Panthers faithful.

Mohammedan SC beat Chennaiyin 4-0 in the corresponding fixture at Barasat Stadium last month. But they have since imploded, but are still in with a chance to make the final round and will be hoping their fortunes turn against Chennaiyin in their own backyard.

“We need to rectify our past mistakes and close some loopholes which have been costing us dearly. We will start the match with a belief that we can win the game,” he continued.

“We had our Team talk at training this morning and players are more determined than ever.  We have beaten them once before, so this is a chance to do it again. Our boys are ready, we made them aware of what to expect.” he added.

The gaffer also maintains that the misfiring in front of goals was “just bad luck” for the team. “My players are working hard and showing commitment, all we need is that bit of luck to score.”

On the playing front, Bhattacharya is happy to welcome back Fikru Lemessa. The striker returning from suspension and would give the side more firepower up front in the absence of Jiten Murmu as the Black Panthers skipper is nursing stomach infection.

“Fikru could be the key for us in against Chennaiyin. He is working very hard in training and has a point to prove.” said Bhattacharya.

“We need to be ready from the moment that the referee blows the whistle to start the game. Chennaiyin can’t be underestimated. They are a young side with full of energy. This means that we must be focussed from the start and take care of business with a sound game plan and a determination to win.” said Fikru.

The Black Panthers, who are on 9 points from 6 matches, can top the Group C standings, at least for the time being, should they beat what really is a timid looking Chennaiyin outfit, who won just one of their 7 league fixtures.

MOHAMMEDAN SC HELD BY 10-MAN JAMSHEDPUR

JAMSHEDPUR: Mohammedan Sporting Club failed to capitalise on TRAU’s slip by playing to a 1-1 draw with a 10-man Jamshedpur FC reserves side on Saturday at Jamhsedpur, which ensured the Imphal-based side remained at the summit.

The Black Panthers started this match knowing that a win would take them on top of the table. The Kolkata giants were in that position thanks to TRAU’s 2-1 loss against Bengaluru FC resreves earlier in the day.

Even with that knowledge, Mohammedan SC weren’t aggressive enough against Jamshedpur, who played with 10-men for most of the game. Wael Ayan made a strong impression on his debut as the Syrian midfielder worked his socks off upfront, covering more ground than any other Mohammedan SC player as he also tracked back to help out defensively.

The match got off to a thrilling and flying start as both sides attacked each other relentlessly and created chances at both ends during the opening stages.

Jamshedpur took a early lead in the 4th minute through Prakash Naik who scored from close range. Prakash was complimented by some lazy defending by Mohammedan SC defenders especially Echezona Anichiye.

Nonetheless, the Black Panthers’ response came in the very next minute as striker Cho Lepcha scored a delightful goal to restore the parity for Mohammedan SC after getting the ball from midfield.

Having scored, Mohammedan SC continued to create chances but Jamshedpur defenders did not allow them any space inside the box and long range efforts were easily dealt by goalkepeer Harpreet Singh.

Meanwhile, Jamshedpur suffered a massive blow in the 42nd minute when midfield mainstay Mohammed Mobashir was given marching orders after the teenager harshly fouled Ayan to earn his second booking of the game.

However, Jamshedpur barely missed the midfielder for the remainder of the half as the visitors hardly threatened them, with Harpreet on holiday in goal as the first half ended 1-1.

Changing over, Mohammedan SC were clearly the better side in terms of possession and chances created, the Black Panthers will look back at the misfortune of having been denied by the woodwork twice in quick succession in the second half from the efforts of Tirthankar Sarkar and Ayan.

The first chance fell to Tirthankar but there was nothing he could do as his thunderous shot only managed the cross-bar with Harpreet beaten just after the hour mark.

A few minutes later, lady luck once again refused to smile on the Black Panthers as Ayan could only watch in disbelief when his close range shot ricocheted off the upright with Harpreet again beaten.

Jamshedpur had their few moments on the attack with the likes of Prakash and Baset Hansdah leading the way but they could not find the back of the net.

Mohammedan SC finished the match stronger, attacking with more intent – something they should have done from the onset, as their defence has consistently gave them good cover through out the second half.

The Black Panthers, who have 9 points from 6 matches, will face Chennayin FC rererves next on April 25, 2018 at Chennai.

DESPERATE BLACK PANTHERS TAKE AIM AT JAMSHEDPUR

KOLKATA: Mohammedan Sporting Club Head Coach Biswajit Bhattacharya is optimistic that his side can end their three match winless run when they take on Jamshedpur FC (Reserves) on Saturday (April 21, 2018) afternoon.

The two sides are scheduled to lock horns in a Hero 2nd Division League Preliminary Round Group C encounter at the JRD Tata Sports Complex in Jamshedpur. Kick-Off at 4:00 PM.

Mohammedan SC won the reverse fixture when they triumphed 2-1 at Barasat Stadium last month thanks to goals from Debasish Pradhan and Jiten Mumru.

“We are currently going through a rough patch, but I strongly believe that soon we will be back at our best.” Coach Bhattacharya said.

The Black Panthers head into the game having drawn 1-1 with Langsning FC away in their previous game on last Friday, while Jamshedpur beat Chennaiyin FC 2-0 away on Sunday.

“We have been working hard to rectify our defensive errors and our finishing since resuming our training. We have to look back and check what areas we could have done better,” the gaffer stressed.

Coach Bhattacharya says he will not be hitting any panic buttons just yet despite his side’s dreadful run of form, however, continues to lament the missed chances and the nature in which they have been conceding goals.

“Having gone three matches without a win is becoming a concern for a team of Mohammedan SC’s caliber, but I am optimistic that it’s just a matter of time we return to winning ways,”  Coach Bhattacharya continued.

“We are looking forward to Jamshedpur clash, and there’s no doubt it’s going to be a tough game with both teams gunning for a victory,” he added.

Heading into the game, the Black Panthers will be without the services of Skipper Jiten Murmu and Ethiopian striker Fikru Lemessa. While Jiten is nursing stomach infection, Fikru is suspended after harshly receiving his second booking against Langsning.

Though Coach Bhattacharya has stated that the absence of two main strikers will be a major loss for his side, but will ensure that his chargers soldier on and do the business against Jamshedpur. Meanwhile, Syrian forward Wael Ayan is available for selection.

NEW SIGNING WAEL AYAN ARRIVES IN KOLKATA

KOLKATA, 14 APRIL 2018: New signing Wael Ayan has arrived in Kolkata to play the ongoing 2017/18 2nd Division League.

The Syrian, who landed in Kolkata today at 6:48 pm via Dubai from Beirut, was welcomed by Club’s Youth Development Chairman Mr. Hasnain Ahmed at Dum Dum Airport.

Ayan, 32, started his career at Syrian Premier League side Al Ittihad SC where he stayed for seven seasons. Ayan has won the AFC Cup for Ittihad in 2010 beside winning the Syrian League and Syrian Cup several times.

He also played for Al Faisaly FC and Najran SC in Saudi Professional League. The midfielder last turned for UAE Pro League side Al Wahda SC in previous season.

“I am delighted to sign for Mohammedan Sporting Club. It’s a great club with top players and passionate fans.” said Ayan.

Interestingly, Ayan and current East Bengal footballer Mahmoud Al Amna played together for Ittihad in Syria from 2003 to 2009, and Ayan revealed that Amna has played a big role in his decision of coming to India.

“Mahmoud is a good friend. We know each other for years. He always had good words to say about Indian football, so when Mohammedan SC came calling I didn’t have to think much before making my decision.” Ayan explained.

“I can’t wait to get started now. I have heard about the fans who are passionate about this beautiful game and hopefully I can give them enough reasons to rejoice by the end of the season.” he concluded.

Ayan has also represented his county 47 times since 2005 and visited India on numerous occasions for Nehru Cup and AFC Challenge Cup assignments.

MOHAMMEDAN SC HELD BY STUBBORN LANGSNING

SHILLONG, 13 APRIL: Langsning FC held their own to earn a point against Mohammedan Sporting Club after a 1-1 draw in their Preliminary Round Group C fixture of the 2nd Division League at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Shillong on Friday.

It was Stephanson Pale’s goal that put Langnsing ahead in the 30th minute before Echezona Anyichie equalized for Mohammedan SC in the 54th minute.

Going into the match, Mohammedan SC Head Coach Biswajit Bhattacharya made two changes to the side that played against Langsning on Monday, as Satyam Sharma and Cho Lephcha came at the expenses of Rahul Jaiswal and Jiten Mumru, who  got sick ahead of the clash.

In a game of equal exchanges, it was Mohammedan SC who went close first when Fikru Lemessa fired from range, but the Ethiopian’s powerful effort was somehow gathered by the rival custodian Surjay Pariyar in the 13th minute.

Ten minutes later, Langsning went close when Fullmoon Mukhim set free on a counter attack. However, Mohammedan SC custodian Subham Roy pulled off a brilliant save to keep the score goalless.

Having missed a host of chances till the half hour mark, Langsning finally broke the deadlock through Stephanson after some good team work.

The Black Panthers, however, rectified their errors at the back and pushed numbers in search of an equalizer, yet Fikru’s effort lacked power and was collected by Surjay in the 34th minute.

Thereafter, the visitors continued to enjoy themselves on the ball and a good combination between Dipendu Dowary and Cho Lepcha saw the latter’s shot shaved off the right corner in the 38th minute.

With five minutes to the interval, Fikru nearly caught the Langsning defense napping when his free header was saved by Surjay from close range.

On the stroke of halftime, Dowary broke free on the left flank into the box, yet he failed to beat Surjay as his effort sailed over the crossbar.

Biswajit Bhattacharya’s side came back and immediately attacked their hosts, but Cho Lepacha missed the target form a promising position in the box to hit the side of the net.

However, the hosts would finally make it 1-1 in the 54th minute when Nigerian defender Echezona Anyichie finished from a scramble on the box to beat Surjay from close range.

Mohammedan SC gained an upper hand after their goal, but the hosts nearly scored their second goal after an hour when Stephanson was denied by Subham from a powerful shot on the edge of the box.

Towards the closing stages, Tirthankar Sarkar looked like he was brought down by Langsning defdender Restom Khriam in the box, but referee waved play on despite penalty protests from Mohammedan SC.

In the end, the Shillong-based side bagged a vital point as they sit at the second spot with 9 points from 6 matches, while Mohammedan SC on third with 8 points from 5 matches.

Mohammedan SC would take on Jamshedpur FC reserves next on April 21, 2018 at JRD Tata Sports Complex in Jamshedpur.

BLACK PANTHERS SEARCH FOR SPARK AGAINST LANGSNING

SHILLONG, 12 APRIL: Things tend to get harder before they get better.  With this motivating axiom in mind Mohammedan Sporting Club will continue their search for the spark that will ignite their 2017/18 2nd Division League campaign.

The Black Panthers will face Langsning FC in their second away Preliminary Round Group C fixture at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Shillong, yet another difficult assignment after they played goalless with the same opponent in the corresponding fixture at Kolkata four days ago.

In reality, Mohammedan SC were not clinical enough against Langsning. There was no intensity in their play, they kept playing long balls, losing possession cheaply and ran out of ideas when they played in the final third of the pitch.

Despite his disappointment with the draw, Mohammedan SC Head Coach Biswajit Bhattacharya is optimistic that his side will get their rhythm back that saw them winning first two matches against Jamshedpur FC (Reserves) and Chennaiyin FC (Reserves) with ease.

“The game of football is unpredictable. You can have one or two players having an off day and get away with it, but when you have five or six it’s a big problem. We have to find a way to recover the team. This is a match where we need to show character.” Coach Bhattacharya said.

Coach Bhattacharya has also lamented the goalscoring problem but remains confident of an improvement ahead of tomorrow’s match.

“We have had challenges at the final third, but I am confident that we can turn things around starting from tomorrow against Langsning. We have to work harder on the things we work on. A win will certainly help us build momentum,” the gaffer added.

The Black Panthers is placed fourth on the league table, not being where they want to be, with 7 points from 4 matches while Langsning on second with 8 points from five matches behind leaders TRAU who took their tally to 10 points from 4 matches beating Chennaiyin 2-1 in their own backyard this afternoon.