| Mohammedan Sporting’s Dipendu Biswas in an aerial tussle with Calcutta Port Trust challengers at the Salt Lake Stadium Monday. Biswas later scored the only goal of the Super Division tie. Picture by Santosh Ghosh
Calcutta: Mohammedan Sporting earned a thin 1-0 win from a dull encounter in their Calcutta League Super Division match at the Salt Lake Stadium Monday. With sad misses on both sides, Dipendu Biswas headed in the winner in the 77th minute.
That victory takes Mohammedan Sporting (23 points from ten matches) to three points from East Bengal’s score, and their encounter Thursday will either confirm East Bengal as the champions or keep Mohammedan Sporting in contention. Port, on the other hand, remain way down with only 14 points from 14 encounters.
The condition of the Salt Lake turf these days deteriorates too quickly even after one sharp shower. It is sticky and soggy underfoot and the ball hardly moves, especially around spots at the goalmouth. The shower that preceded Monday’s match not only delayed the start of play (by about 25 minutes), it also rendered the turf unfit for any level of good soccer.
The match, therefore, was played at a pedestrian pace and pretty unimaginatively too. So much so, that in all of the first half, though Mohammedan Sporting did dominate, the only move of note was a Biswas header off a Reaj-ul Mustafa pass that went over the crossbar.
Before that a couple of shots — by Abdulateef Seriki and Khemtang Paite — had been saved by Port goalkeeper Sandip Sinha. Sinha had a rather decent outing.
Mohammedan Sporting were back in the attack in the second half but tardy shooting and some good saves by Sinha prevented any goal being scored.
In fact, the first proper attempt in that half was in the 60th minute, for Port, off a counter-attack.
Pradip Indu received the ball from Koushik Prasad and moved into the Mohammedan Sporting box as Hussein Mustafi failed in his tackle. Indu passed towards Sujit Dey, but with only Mohammedan Sporting goalkeeper Imran Khan to beat, Dey reacted late and failed to reach in time.
Then, in the 20th minute of that half, in a goalmouth melee Amit Das saw a free corridor at the goalmouth and passed onto a better-placed Biswas who failed to shoot home from close.
As the rains started again, in a drizzle, Mohammedan Sporting attacked. Arjan Ali picked one up from near the half line and, into the defensive third, lobbed to the goalmouth. Dipendu headed in quickly.
The way Biswas reacted thereafter, though, was pretty weird. Jumping in joy, he raced out of the pitch and his teammates followed, towards the cheering crowd.
Coach Mohammed Habeeb had to personally go over and ask his players to be back into play. This is the type of unsavoury behaviour Biswas has always engaged in. Only if it matched his performance onfield.
MOHAMMEDAN SPORTING: Imran Khan, Reaj-ul Mustafa, Insan Ali, Hussein Mustafi, Biswanath Mondal, Habeeb Adenkunle, Khemtang Paite (Arjan Ali, 75), Amit Das (Amjad Ansari, 70), Rahim Nabi, Dipendu Biswas, Abdulateef Seriki (Najim-ul Haq, 89).
CALCUTTA PORT TRUST: Sandip Sinha, Soumen Sarkar, Robi Karmakar (Amar Pyne, 80), Bejoy Pal, Srimanta Das, Bastab Roy (Sandip Ghosh, 67), Praneet Dey, Koushik Prasad, Sanchit Saha, Sujit Dey, Pradip Indu.
Referee: Gautam Sadhukhan.
Group A action
In the only other Group A league match of the day (the rest washed out) Bata and West Bengal Police drew 1-1, A. Bardhan scoring for the former and T. Chatterjee for the latter.