Calcutta: Salgaocar’s Dudu Omagbemi showed on Saturday just why strikers hog most of the limelight in soccer.
Mohammedan Sporting played a decent match at the Salt Lake Stadium, but in the end it was Salgaocar who walked out of the pitch with their heads held high, thanks to their 1-0 victory in the I-League encounter.
Dudu, the 28-year-old Nigerian forward, made all the difference on a day when, perhaps, Mohammedan Sporting should have won the match. That the home side is almost goal-blind because of the lack of a good striker, cost them the game.
Not only are Mohammedan Sporting languishing in the 12th spot in the 13-team League, they have scored even less goals — 13 — than the bottom-placed Randajied United FC (14 goals).
On Saturday, as far as the Sanjoy Sen-coached team were concerned, chances were created only to be wasted. From Israil Gurung to Penn Orji to Joshimar, Mohammedan Sporting, it seemed, were a celebration of misses.
Initial stages of the match saw both the teams fighting an almost an equal battle. But it was Salgaocar who got the first real chance, in the 21st minute, when Dudu’s smart on-the-turn shot was saved well by ’keeper Luis Barreto.
Barreto, however, couldn’t stop Dudu two minutes later when the Nigerian, who was once the top scorer in the National League during his earlier stint in India, gave Salgaocar the goal. Receiving a Francisco Fernandes through, Dudu darted towards the rival goal, out-sped Mehrajuddin Wadoo, kept his balance and slotted it past the ’keeper.
Mohammedan Sporting could have equalised in the very next minute, but Israil’s effort was thwarted by the near post from the right.
Dudu, on the other hand, could have doubled his and Salgaocar’s tally had the post not come in the way of his brilliant volley from just outside the box in the 29th minute.
The second half was entirely dominated by the home side, but none of the Mohammedan Sporting players were good enough to score. The closest they went to finding the elusive equaliser was in the 64th minute when Manish Maithani’s strong header off an Israil cross from the right went out after hitting the horizontal.
Mohammedan Sporting coach Sanjoy remains confident of a turnaround soon, but with the strike force that he has at his disposal, confidence would only hit the post and go out, it seems.
Salgaocar: Karanjit Singh, Nicloau Colaco, Augusten Fernandes, Chika Wali, Matthew Foschini, Francisco Fernandes (Milagres Gonsalves, 90+1), Rocus Lamare, Clifton Dais (Rahul Kumar, 90+5), Gilbert Oliveira, Darryl Duffy (Bikash Jairu, 85), Dudu Omagbemi
Mohammedan Sporting: Luis Barreto, Phoolchand Hembram (Taro Hasegawa, 52), Luciano Sabrosa, Mehrajuddin Wadoo, Collin Abranches, Israil Gurung, Penn Orji, Manish Maithani, Ishfaq Ahmed (Khantang Paite, 66), Syed Rahim Nabi, Joshimar
Referee: Pratap Singh
MoM: Dudu Omagbemi