Jamshedpur: Skipper Naushad Moosa brace helped Mohammedan Sporting beat a strong Punjab Police 2-1 in the opening match of the second division National Football League (final phase) tie at the Keenan Stadium on Friday.
The encounter rose to exciting heights under swampy conditions as both the outfits tried to make best use of the opportunity. Though the Calcutta outfit seemed to hold an upper hand in the first-half, Punjab Police proved a difficult customer.
Captain Harnek Singh opened the account for Punjab Police with a classy long-ranger, which swerved and also dipped in the air before slipping into the net past the hapless Mohammedan Sporting custodian Gopal Das. Singh intercepted a kick from Das just in front of the centre and let go a 35-yarder to secure the lead for his team in the ninth minute.
Mohammedan Sporting tried hard to find the equaliser by adopting an attacking mode of play. However, the strong defence wall of the rival outfit foiled all attempts made by the Calcutta outfit. The match had to be stopped for five minutes in the opening half as heavy rains lashed the steel city in the afternoon. Punjab Police led 1-0 at the breather.
The proceedings got disrupted for nearly 10 minutes in the second half thanks to ground conditions. Mohammedan Sporting found the equaliser in the 60th minute when Moosa slid in a flick from substitute Prakash Kolay straight into the net. The corner from Jiten Rai found Kolay in perfect position to flick. Moosa did the rest to a nicety.
Both the teams played attacking football even though they found difficulty in shooting the ball. The encounter inched towards a stalemate before a Punjab Police defender pulled down a rushing Zubair KP inside the penalty box.
Referee M. Joychandra Singh wasted little time in awarding the penalty kick to Mohammedan Sporting. Punjab Police players argued with the umpire and even pleaded to revert the decision. Moosa converted the spot kick in the 86th minute.