BSF shootout Mohammedan to crown I-Day Cup champions

NAGAON ASSAM: BSF Jalandhar clinched the title in the 70th Independence Day Cup beating Mohammedan Sporting 4-3 in a penalty shootout following a thrilling 1-1 draw on Saturday.

Mohammedan took the lead through Charles Atcha in the 20th minute before Sadam Hussain equalized for BSF in the 43rd minute.

BSF attempted to make an early mark on the match with a neat Ramakanta Hembram chip for Jitinder Rawat in the first minute signalling their intentions.

However, as the match commenced Mohammedan slowly imposed their style on the match, slowing it in the midfield and then attacking into the final third at pace.

Having missed some half chances till the 20th minute mark Mohammedan broke the deadlock through Charles who scored from Philip Adjah’s pass.

Black Panthers then took control of the match. The Kolkata outfit probably should have scored a couple more goals before the break, but their finishing let them down.

Mohammedan looked dangerous every time they pushed forward and Sumit Ghosh tried to curl the ball into the top corner but BSF goalkeeper Harpreet Singh produced a fine save to deny the attacker in the 39th minute.

While Mohammedan pushed high up BSF managed to restore the parity against the run of the play as Sadam took advantage of a defensive error to beat Mohammedan custodian Priyant Singh from close range in the 43rd minute as the both teams went into the breather with scores locked 1-1.

BSF came back into the second-half with more purpose and after a couple of changes early on they started to look more threatening out wide.

Ramakanta had the best opportunity in the opening minutes of the second-half when his free-kick was tipped over by Priyant.

Although BSF dominated possession in the second-half they struggled to get near enough to their opponents goal to really trouble them, managing just two shots in 45 minutes.

But it was hardly much better at the other end with Mohammedan restricted to just three attempts on goal themselves.

Meanwhile, Mohammedan was to deal with a blow after 74 minutes when Priyant injured himself and had to leave the field paving way to Sourav Chakraborty, who made his first appearance of the season.

Despite the best efforts of both sides it seemed goals weren’t on the agenda for the evening as they went through regulation time with scores locked 1-1 and the match headed to directly to a penalty shootout.

It was nail-biting stuff as the players went through the motions of a penalty shootout taking the crowd packed into the stands at Nurul Amin Stadium on the roller-coaster ride right alongside them.

In the end it seems experience paid off with the BSF holding their nerve to slot four goals to Mohammedan’s three.

Mohammedan, BSF set for final showdown

NAGAON, ASSAM: Mohammedan Sporting Club would look to clinch their first Independence Day Cup title in eleven years when they face defending champions BSF Jalandhar in the final of the 70th Independence Day Cup at Nurul Amin Stadium this evening.

These are two most successful teams in the 70-year history of the competition, with BSF unrivalled on 8 titles and Mohammedan five-time winners.

The two teams have faced a series of obstacles on the road to the final but with their 2-1 victory over I-League champions Minerva Punjab in semifinal, Mohammedan set to enter the final in higher spirits. Whereas BSF head into the final on the back of a closely fought 1-0 victory against Oil India Dhulijan in a game which saw them fail to reach their full potential.

Mohammedan have emerged the overwhelming favourites at the tournament thus far, but face their biggest test yet in a BSF team that knows all about them, having faced the Kolkata outfit earlier in a redundant Group A game.

Looking ahead BSF coach S.S Virk knows they’re going up against a tough opponent in Mohammedan but have done everything in their power to prepare for the encounter.

Going into the final, BSF’s strategy would be simple as they will be looking frustrate Mohammedan by keeping things compact and cutting off space before using speed on the transition in the form of Jitinder Rawat, Ramakanta Hembram and Avinash Thapa who all have the capacity to stretch Mohammedan’s defense.

The best match to date for Mohammedan was their semi-final against Minerva with the squad seemingly finding the right balance – at just the right time.

Satyam Sharma was in control in the middle of the park while Philip Adjah was looking lethal up front any time they were in possession.

Going into the final, what will be key for Mohammedan is continuing that momentum and continuing to apply what they have learned thus far.

Part of their strength came from surprising their opponents with their speed, power and hunger.

Coach Raghunath Nandi has prepared his troops well, identifying the key strengths of his personnel and setting up a system to maximize the team’s effectiveness. He never got carried away with any one victory, pointing out areas for improvements whilst highlighting the strengths of his team.

Nandi knows what to expect from this exciting young side who will need to lift their game one more time to secure the silverware.

And with a hugely excited crowd backing this young side to continue their glorious run, there’s every chance they could once more lift their game to try and deliver what the fans want.

Interestingly, Mohammedan SC won their last Independence Day Cup title in 2007 beating BSF 3-2 on penalties.

Mohammedan edge Minerva to setup BSF date in final

NAGAON, ASSAM: Mohammedan Sporting Club edged past Minerva Punjab FC 2-1 in the second semifinal to book their place into the final of the 70th Independence Day Cup in Nagaon, Assam.

Ghanaian goal-machine Phillip Adjah (44th and 61st) scores twice for Black Panthers while Atinder Mani (79th) pulled a goal back for Minerva at Nurul Amin Stadium on Friday.

Mohammedan SC dominated first-half ball possession, but did not do much to threaten the opposition goal, while Minerva, who were pressed back for the majority of the half, did well to absorb the pressure and looked dangerous on the few times they attacked.

The first-half was characterized by a lack of goal scoring opportunities from both sides. In the infant stages of the game, Mohammedan SC had shown promise with some impressive passes, but when they resorted to long balls, Minerva dealt with them with confidence.

However, the Black Panthers were rewarded for their persistent efforts as Adjah ran on to a pass from Prosenjit Chakraborty and rifled a right-foot shot past goalkeeper Bhaskar Roy in the 44th minute to give his side the lead going into the breather.

Mohammedan SC goalkeeper Priyant Singh was a spectator in the first-half, but he saw more action in the second, keeping out an angled drive from William Opoku before twice having to punch away an awkward aerial ball in the 54th minute as Minerva began to put more pressure on the Mohammedan SC defense looking for the equalizer.

Despite the momentum turning in Minerva’s favour, Mohammedan SC fought back to add a second when Adjah slotted home from close range after rounding Bhaskar in the 61st minute.

Meanwhile, Minerva did not lose hope as they kept attacking with intensity and pulled a goal back through Atinder in the 79th minute.

The match started to become a little tenser as the clock counted down with Minerva showing great determination in their pursuit of an equalizer, while Mohammedan SC remained solid at the back.

Minerva, to their credit, never gave up but it appeared as if getting on the score sheet just wasn’t to be for the side today with every shot went anywhere but on target as Mohammedan SC held on on for a well-deserved win.

“We always think of winning whatever game we are going into. I wished to play a better game especially in the second-half, but we were facing a very strong team in Minerva. They were very dangerous especially in the second-half. We are happy to win such a tough game. We have the final in just 24 hours but we have to adapt with that. I promise our supporters back home that we will fight till the last second,” said coach Raghunath Nandi.

“I don’t even have words to explain what we feel as a team. We went into this game with belief that we can do it. The players gave it their all on the pitch and now we have victory. ” Adjah said after the final whistle.

Mohammedan SC will now take on BSF Jalandhar, who beat Oil India 1-0 thanks to Ramakanta Hembram’s 88th minute goal in the first semifinal, in the final tomorrow at 6 pm.

Mohammedan, Minerva square off for a berth in I-Day Cup final

NAGAON, ASSAM: In what many fans believe is the real 70th Independence Day Cup championship clash, Mohammedan Sporting Club and Minerva Punjab will square off at Nurul Amin Stadium on Friday for a spot in final, kick-off 6:30 pm.

Assamese media and fans have not only labelled Mohammedan SC as favorites to win this encounter but to also win the entire thing. However, coach Raghunath Nandi knows it very well that it’s a big ask for his young side and the veteran tactician believes the side has the talent and mental strength to do well.

Nandi has made it clear that he would be expecting a challenging encounter with Minerva, but he is unfazed by the pedigree of the reigning I-League champions.

“We have a lot of respect for Minerva but we are ready to face them. I think we are well prepared as we can be for this match. We need to keep our composure and I am positive that the players will rise to the occasion.”

“Of course we are facing a very tough opponent in Minerva and it will be tough for us, but hopefully we can make it a bit tough on Minerva too,” he said.

Nandi has indicated his pleasure with how the campaign has progressed thus far and will confident come kick-off that his side will go out and do the business to keep their hopes for a sixth Independence Day Cup title alive.

“A semifinal match is more tricky than the final itself because when you lose it, it becomes a matter of so close yet so far. It’s an important game but end of the day, it’s just another game and we need to play good football to win,” he added.

Mohammedan SC has a full complement to choose from. Several key players including Philip Adjah are expected to be restored into the starting line up, after resting them for their final group stage match.

Although Minerva has reinforced their squad adding the likes of William Opoku, Deepeak Devrani, Moinuddin Khan, Manandeep Singh, Arshpreet Singh, Eric Dano, Atinder Mani and Sukhwinder Singh alongside Irish technical director Paul Munster since losing their last Group B game, Black Panthers could have an edge over their opponents who will require mental fortitude to come back from their beating at the hands of Oil India.

The game will probably have a high tempo as both sides have a quick passing and ball controlling style of play as has been seen in their previous games. Each side will try to dominate in the midfield and control the game, but who will actually impose themselves more is till unknown.

These are arguably two best teams in the competition and much is at stake as the winner will be favoured to lift the trophy on Saturday.

Mohammedan play out 1-1 against BSF to finish the group phase

NAGAON, ASSAM: Mohammedan Sporting Club played out a 1-1 draw with BSF Jalandhar in their last Group A game of the 70th Independence Day Cup at Nurul Amin Stadium in Nagaon, Assam.

With Black Panthers’ place in the semifinals already assured, coach Raghunath Nandi took the opportunity to rest some of his more battle-weary campaigners – regular starters Philip Adjah, Seydou Maddy,  Mohammad Amirul and Snehasish Dutta did not even feature on the bench – and gave chances instead to the likes of Sujit Soren, Ayan Roy Chowdhury, Charles Atcha and Sumit Ghosh.

Despite the changes, Mohammedan SC were quick to settle into their rhythm to dictate the tempo of the game. They also controlled both territory and ball possession for the majority of the game, restricting BSF to counter attacks.

Determined to finish the group stage with two wins from as many games, Nandi’s charges pressed forward in numbers.

Their persistence paid dividends in the 15th minute when Sujit  picked out Charles with a swerving cross for the Ivorian striker to head home from close range to put Mohammedan SC ahead.

The goal stunned BSF momentarily but they did not lose hope and began attacking with intensity.

Clearly lifting their game for the occasion, BSF dominated their more fancied opponents for long periods and carved out several chances to equalise before finally doing so in the 38th minute. A failed clearance from the Mohammedan SC back-line allowed the ball to roll into the box and it ended up in the net after a lucky deflection from Kamal Kishore who looked in an offside position.

Hitting their opponents on the break, BSF looked well in control at times giving Mohammedan SC goalkeeper Priyant Singh his best test of the tournament so far.

Nonetheless, the Punjab outfit failed to convert as the scoreline remained one-goal-a-piece going into the breather.

Mohammedan SC maintained a total control in the second-half but they took their foot of the pedal.

BSF, on the other hand, were lively from the outset as they asserted their dominance for the majority of the half by controlling ball possession.

Jitinder Rawat and Kamal Kishore offered BSF some hope with their darting runs in Mohammedan SC’s final third but all their attempts have been stifled by the well organised Mohammedan SC defense.

Mohammedan SC did well to stay in the game and had a few chances through Charles and Sujit but it was the lack of finishing that let them down.

Despite creating a number of opportunities to score both sides were unable to add to the first-half tally as the game ended 1-1.

The result meant Black Panthers finish on top of Group A with 4 points from 2 games while BSF also go through to the last four with 2 points.

“Yes, it was a good result for us. I’m really happy with the performance. I would have liked to win but now we have to focus on the semifinal,” coach Raghunath Nandi said.

Mohammedan SC will take on Minerva Punjab FC in the second semifinal on October 12, 2018 at 5:15 pm.

Mohammedan look to stay perfect in Group stage

NAGAON, ASSAM: Mohammedan Sporting Club will face defending champions BSF Jalandhar in their last Group A fixture of the 70th Independence Day Cup on Wednesday (October 10, 2018) at the Nurul Amin Stadium, kick-off 2:30 pm.

Black Panthers’ semifinal berth has already been confirmed, but a point would ensure they finish on top of Group A. BSF, on the other hand, can go through to the last four with a draw and even a one-goal loss. Morning Star Club, however, would hope Mohammedan SC would win with a margin of two goals or more, which would take them through to the semifinal.

The task, however, looks little bit easier for BSF. That said, BSF might not be facing Mohammedan SC at the latter’s 100% level.

Although Mohammedan SC doesn’t have any injury concerns, coach Raghunath Nandi said he is likely to make changes against BSF, given his side have already assured themselves of participation in the knockout stage.

The veteran tactician is eager to give other members of his 22-man squad a taste of the tournament in Nagaon, Assam

“We are going to rest Seydou Maddy and Mohammad Amirul, unfortunately both them have picked up a yellow card in the last match. They are key members of the squad and we don’t want to take any risk before semifinal,” he said

Mohammedan SC, who are the most successful team in the history of the competition, have been labelled favourites by the fans and local media, but Nandi doesn’t feel the same.

“There are no favourites once the match starts and the better team will win eventually. You can say we have a good chance to win this game. But I don’t feel we can be labelled as favourites,” he added. 

Nandi believes this tournament is the ideal platform to test his players before the forthcoming 2018/19 2nd Division League.

I will try to be a great example on and off the pitch, says Adjah

NAGAON, ASSAM: Newly appointed Mohammedan Sporting Club captain, Philip Adjah, is understandably delighted with the latest achievement of his career.

The Ghanaian forward led Black Panthers in their 70th All India Independence Cup opener against Krabi Anglong Morning Star Club yesterday and helped the team to make a positive start by scoring the all important goal in a 1-0 win at Nurul Amin Stadium.

Speaking about the appointment, Adjah said it is a great honour for him to lead the side.

“It is a great honour to be chosen to lead such a great Club,” he said. “I am happy to form part of the illustrious names that captained Mohammedan Sporting in the past. I will try to be a great example on and off the pitch.”

“I will do my best with the support of my colleagues. We have a good squad of players who are qualified to lead the team. The quality and the leadership in the team makes me grateful to be a part of this great institution.

Meanwhile, Mohammedan Sporting coach Raghunath Nandi is confident that Adjah is a capable captain for the side.

“We are happy for Adjah. He is a quality player and leads by example,” Nandi said.

Mohammedan beat Morning Star Club to begin Independence Cup campaign

NAGAON, ASSAM: Mohammedan Sporting Club began their campaign in the 70th All India Independence Cup with a 1-0 win over K.A. Morning Star Club on Saturday at the Nurul Amin Stadium in Nagaon, Assam. Philip Adjah Tetteh scored the only goal in the 38th minute.

Mohammedan SC exerted pressure right from the start while Morning Star took time to settle. Nevertheless, Morning Star had a clear look at the Mohammedan SC goal in the 19th minute but keeper Priyant Singh did well to clear the danger.

Black Panthers, on the other hand, were creating some fantastic openings but their attackers ran short of ideas on reaching the Morning Star territory.

Having created some half chances till the half hour mark, Mohammedan SC almost took the lead in the 31st minute when Adjah found himself clear inside the box. The move began with David Asamoah finding Prosenjit Chakraborty clear on the right who cut back outside the box to Adjah. The striker beat his marker to get into the box but fired inches wide from close range.

The constant pressure by Mohammedan SC paid off as they finally broke the deadlock through Adjah, who slotted from Mohammad Amirul’s pass to give Mohammedan SC a 1-0 lead at half-time.

The second-half was a similar story as Mohammedan SC dominated majority of the proceedings. While Black Panthers pushed up front, close chances fell for Adjah, Amirul, Snehasish Dutta and Sumit Ghosh but they lacked killer finish in the final third.

Despite creating numerous scoring opportunities it was lack of finishing that prevented a bigger scoreline as the game ended 1-0 in Mohammedan SC’s favour.

“Credit to the boys they have done well as they followed what we told them to do. We needed to be solid at the back and also create a decent amount of chances ourselves. We got the three points and will continue on in the tournament,”  coach Raghunath Nandi said.

Mohammedan SC XI: Priyant Singh, Debasish Pradhan, Prosenjit Paul, Seydou Maddy, Kamran Farooque, Satyam Sharma, Snehasish Dutta (Sumit Ghosh), Prosenjit Chakraborty, David Asamoah, Philip Adjah, Mohammad Amirul (Laltu Hembram).

Mohammedan SC put four past Bhawanipore in U-18 Youth League Kolkata Zonal Round qualifier

KOLKATA: Mohammedan Sporting Club beat Bhawanipore Club 4-0 in Group B of Kolkata Zonal Qualifiers of the 2018/19 U-18 Youth League at Barasat Stadium on Saturday morning.

Vincent Kham Lun Lian Zou (30′), Surajuddin Munshi (44′), Samuel Haokip (62′) and Mainak Dey (90+4′) were on target for the Young Panthers. With this win Mohammedan SC maintained their top position in Group B with 7 points from 3 matches.

The first-half saw Mohammedan SC completely dominate proceedings with a number of attacks in the opening quarter. Bhawanipore, on the other hand, defended deep and had their custodian to thank after he denied Surajuddin and skipper Uttam Mitra on multiple occasions.

Having missed a host of chances till the half hour mark, Mohammedan SC finally broke the deadlock in the 30th minute. Uttam cut back to Vincent inside the box and the striker delayed his shot to avoid multiple slides before finally smashing home.

Having scored, Mohammedan SC increased their pressure and attacked the rival goal ferociously going close on a few occasions. Mohammedan SC’s pressure yielded another goal in the 44th minute when Surajuddin got on the score-sheet to give Mohammedan SC a two goal cushion going into the breather.

Mohammedan SC began the second-half brightly like they did the first, with a goal beckoning with every move and after 17 minutes of play, Samuel consolidated Mohammedan SC’s lead. Debraj Rakshit away from two defenders on the right flank, picked out Samuel to head past the rival custodian from close range.

Thereafter, Young Panthers continued to dominate the proceedings but had to wait till the last minute of stoppage time to get their fourth. Uttam with a brilliant run got past his marker and laid the ball for Samuel who set up Mainak to slot home.

The Yong Panthers, are now almost through to the Kolkata Zonal Round, will face Rainbow Athletic Club in their last fixture on October 8 at Kamalgazi Ground.

Black Panthers upbeat ahead of Independence Cup opener

NAGAON, ASSAM: Mohammedan Sporting Club has reached Nagaon, Assam to play the 70th All India Independence Cup on Friday (October 5, 2018) afternoon.

Although Mohammedan Sporting coach Raghunath Nandi is looking to use this tournament as a platform to try out some new players before the forthcoming 2018/19 2nd Division League, the veteran tactician firmly set his sights on winning the title.

“Here at Mohammedan Sporting Club our aim is to win every tournament where we participate but we also need to remind this is almost a new squad. We have brought some new players and still need to assess them. However, like always my team is going for the win tomorrow,” he said.

Black Panthers would open their campaign in the 70th All India Independence Cup against Karbi Anglong Morning Star Club on Saturday (October 6, 2018) at the Nurul Amin Stadium, kick-off 4:30 pm.

List of Players:

GOALKEEPERS: Priyant Singh, Moniruzzaman Ansari, Sourav Chakraborty.

DEFENDERS: Ainish Zamadar, Prosenjit Paul, Kamran Farooque, Seydou Maddy, Debasish Pradhan, Firoz Ali, Snehasish Dutta.

MIDFIELDERS: Rakesh Karmakar, Rinku Kumar Shaw, Sumit Ghosh, Prosenjit Chakraborty, Laltu Hembram, Charles Atcha, Satyam Sharma, Ayan Roy Chowdhury.

FORWARDS: Philip Adjah, Mohammad Amirul, Sujit Soren, David Asamoah.

Coach: Raghunath Nandi
Manager: Belal Ahmed Khan