KALYANI: Mohammedan Sporting Club massacred league leaders Churchill Brothers 4-1 on Monday in their Hero I-League championship round clash at Kalyani Municipal Stadium.
Hira Mondal (15′), Vanlalbiaa Chhangte (68′) and Pedro Manzi (86′ & 90+3′) were on target for Mohammedan while Churchill scored through Luka Majcen (21′) when he converted from the spot as Mohammedan climbed up to the fourth spot on the league table with 20 points from 13 matches while Churchill slipped down to second position.
Mohammedan didn’t get off the mark as quickly as they might have hoped with Churchill proving strong tactically, setting up a deep block with pace up front for the counter attack.
Nonetheless, Mohammedan started to find their place in the match looking like the more organised, more dominant side as they enjoyed a majority of possession.
And it was no surprise when they took the lead in the 15th minute through Hira, who shifted the ball to his right foot and took a shot at the near post from a long distance out to put his team ahead. Even a full-length dive from Churchill goalkeeper Shilton Paul wasn’t good enough to stop the shot.
Nonetheless, Mohammedan’s joy was short-lived as Churchill equalized just six minutes. Bryce Miranda was brought down in the box by Chhangte and Churchill were awarded a penalty which was converted by Luka.
It proved the confidence boost Churchill needed, while having the opposite effect on Mohammedan. The chances for Churchill started flowing, however Mohammedan contained the rampant Red Machines until the referee blew the half-time whistle with score-line locked 1-1.
Mohammedan came out of the sheds fired up to bring themselves back into contention, controlling the ball, winning set pieces and keeping Churchill pinned into their own back third. But they weren’t the only ones, determined not to lose a second straight match, Churchill fought hard to not only keep themselves in the match but to try and find a goal which would send them ahead.
Unfortunately Churchill weren’t able to keep up the pace, while Mohammedan started to establish a comfortable rhythm whenever they found themselves in possession making it tough for their opponents to impose their game.
Mohammedan took the lead in the 68th minute when a powerful strike by Pedro Manzi hit the crossbar and fell in the path of Chhangte who passed it into the back of the net.
With Mohammedan taking the lead, Churchill had to throw caution to the wind as they launched a wave of attacks on the Mohammedan defence. However, by pushing forward Churchill have left themselves exposed and vulnerable at the back. Manzi was released by a wonderful through ball by Jamal Bhuyan and he chipped the ball from 30 yards out over the head of an advancing Shilton in the 86th minute.
Mohammedan did not take their foot off the accelerator and continued to dominate proceedings and Manzi increased the lead further in stoppage time after Shilton failed to deal with a shot from outside the box and it found the Spaniard who had time and space to help it into the goal.