| Mohammedan Sporting striker Abdulateef Seriki, who got his team’s second goal, in action against Tollygunge Agragami at Salt Lake Stadium Sunday
Calcutta: Mohammedan Sporting’s campaign to win the coveted Calcutta Football League title after 21 years received a boost when they thrashed Tollygunge Agragami 5-0 in their Championship Leg match at the Salt Lake Stadium on Sunday.
Rahim Nabi scored a brace while Abdulateef Seriki, Khemtang Paite and Dipendu Biswas all pitched in with one each.
Though the scoreline suggests a one-sided affair, Tollygunge had as many as five chances, all muffed up by Akeem Abolanle alone.
The Mohammedan Sporting team did look suspect on the counter and it’s about time the club management gives some thought about Habeeb Adekunle. At the central defence, he allowed Akeem space, but was spared the blushes as his Nigerian counterpart did not oblige.
However, no praise is enough for the Mohammedan Sporting midfielders and attackers. The four-man midfield played an outstanding passing game in the middle-third, stretching it to the wings and making life hard for the Tollygunge defence.
Mohammedan Sporting were always a man up in the penetrative zone, which speaks a lot about the fitness of the boys on the deplorable Salt Lake turf.
Rahim Nabi, who scored two goals against East Bengal to snatch a dramatic draw on Thursday, had an outstanding game playing as a right-half. He continuously shuffled his position, cut in and fed the attackers wonderfully. Nabi’s efforts bore fruit with Dipendu Biswas and Seriki both having a decent game upfront.
The Tollygunge defence was in tatters and could not pose any threat to the likes of Nabi. There was hardly any blocking as the wily right-half weaved his way into opposition territory.
After Akeem missed an easy one in the second minute, Mohammedan went into the lead in the 23rd. Nabi got a ball inside the box and took a left-footer, which was blocked by the Tollygunge custodian. But he maintained his balance, controlled the rebound and put it past Amar Deb.
Six minutes hence, Paite played a ball to Seriki and the Nigerian, bulldozing in from the left, hit a powerful left-footer grounder into the net. In the 34th minute, Tollygunge Agragami came closest to reducing the margin. Akeem made a solo run down the left with Habeeb Adekunle escorting him and took a left-footer that struck the cross-bar and went out.
Dipendu and Paite played a wonderful one-two in front of the opposition area in the 39th minute, which found the latter in the clear. Paite’s left footer went in past a hapless Deb.
Nineteen minutes into the second session, a Biswanath Mondal lob was headed down by Nabi and Dipendu took a shot on the half-turn that went in.
Nabi rounded off the tally with a magnificent solo-effort in the 67th minute. He got the ball towards the left of the penalty box, outwitted a couple of defenders with an inside dodge and put it into the net.
Tolly sore over Akeem
Tollygunge Agragami officials are peeved at the ‘attitude’ of their highest paid footballer Akeem Abolanle and are planning to release him before the National League.
A senior official said at the end of the match that they have reports that the Nigerian missed the goals ‘intentionally.’ “We are planning to release both Akeem and his brother Isiaka,” the official confirmed.
Mohammedan Sporting: Prasanta Dora, Reaj-ul-Mustafa, Insan ali, Habeeb Adekunle, Biswanath Mondal; Rahim Nabi, Amit Das (Bhuvan Joshi 46), Arunava Sarkar, Khemtang Paite, (Arjan Ali 57); Dipendu Biswas, Abdulateef Seriki (Amjad Ansari 61 min)
Tollygunge Agragami: Amar Deb; Manas Das, Sujit Niyogi, Debkumar Sashmol, Dipayan Majumdar; Niladri Chakraborty, Srikanta Dutta (Uttam Debnath 80), Laltu Das (Amitava Chanda 56), Shibshankar Santra (Biswaroop Bishu 29); Ashim Biswas, Akeem Abolanle
Referee: Sukriti Dutta