Thursday , February 29 2024

Mohammedan Sporting cross Sreenidi Deccan hurdle to emerge I-League toppers!

Mohammedan Sporting beat Sreenidi Deccan FC 2-1 to take a commanding lead at the top of the table, in their I-League 2023-24 game at the Naihati Stadium on Sunday, December 3.

With 19 points from seven matches, the Black and White Brigade are now the lone leaders in the points table, while Sreenidi Deccan remain on 16 after eight outings.

As expected, Mohammedan Sporting started the game at breakneck speed on their home turf, constantly putting the Sreenidi Deccan defence under pressure, albeit without really creating much in terms of chances. They almost paid for it, when Sreendi capitalised on a break to create the first real chance of the game.

It came in the 15th minute, Lalromawia twisting and turning at the top of the box to feed David Castaneda who had drifted free of his marker. The Colombian collected and managed to get a shot away from a tight angle but it drifted just wide.

The game settled into a pattern quickly, Mohammedan Sporting’s midfield the superior of the two but also struggling to get past a defence brilliantly marshalled by Gurmukh Singh.

It was Gurmukh who, combined with Albino Gomes to deny Mohammedan Sporting what seemed a sure shot opener in the 34th minute. Alexis Gomez’s freekick from the top of the box took a massive deflection in the wall and looked to be heading into goal. Albino who had dived one way, stuck out a leg brilliantly to save, but the ball was still heading into the far corner, only for Gurmukh to clear off the line. It was a brilliant bit of keeping and goal-line defending.

Three minutes later though Mirjalol Kasimov made sure it didn’t matter. The Uzbek drifted in from the left, played a one-two with Gomez before dribbling to the top of the box and unleashing a perfectly targeted shot into the bottom corner. The crowd were in raptures and Mohammedan Sporting had the lead they had craved.

Eddie Hernandez doubled that lead on the hour mark with a brilliantly powered header after Remsanga and Vanlalzuidika’s interplay saw the latter put a lofted cross into the box. Mohammedan Sporting seemed to be cruising to a three-point lead over their rivals with a game in hand.

But it wasn’t as simple as that. Sreenidi Deccan’s William Alves converted a penalty for the visitors in the 84th minute after Lalbiakliana was hacked down inside the box by Mohamed Irshad. It led to a heated end to the game, Sreenidi Deccan pushing for an equaliser and Mohammedan Sporting desperate to hang on. The chance did fall, and it fell to Alves from an Abhishek Ambekar cross, deep in injury time. He headed it high. Mohammedan Sporting were relieved to take full points.

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