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 Second 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 Sporting in the 54th minute.
Going into the match, Mohammedan Sporting head coach Biswajit Bhattacharya made two changes to the side that played against Langsning FC on Monday in Kolkata, 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 Sporting 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 FC went close when Fullmoon Mukhim set free on a counter attack. However, Mohammedan Sporting 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 FC 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 FC defence napping when his free header was saved by Surjay from close range.
On the stroke of half-time, 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 guests 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 Sporting 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 FC defender Restom Khriam in the box, but referee waved play on despite penalty protests from Mohammedan Sporting.
In the end, the Shillong-based side bagged a vital point as they sit in second spot with nine points from six matches, while Mohammedan Sporting are third with eight points from five matches.
Mohammedan Sporting would take on Jamshedpur FC Reserves next on April 21 at JRD Tata Sports Complex in Jamshedpur.