| Subash Singh and Cornell Glen, at the Salt Lake Stadium, on Wednesday. A Telegraph picture |
Calcutta: Mohammedan Sporting’s chances of clinging on to the top tier of the I-League suffered a setback when they lost to Lajong FC 4-5, at the Salt Lake Stadium, on Wednesday.
The 90 minutes did provide enough entertainment to the handful of spectators with Lajong’s Cornell Glen scoring a hat-trick and Subash Singh netting the other two. For Mohammedan Sporting, Ashim Biswas, Penn Orji and Joshimar were the goal-scorers.
Mohammedan Sporting were reduced to 10 men in the 14th minute after goalkeeper Luis Baretto was given marching orders by referee Rahul D’Sa for targeting a rival forward, instead of the ball, in a one-to-one tussle. L. Ashok Singh replaced him under the bar.
Still, Lajong’s effort was commendable since they had to battle the stifling heat and humidity after having come from a region where the average temperature is hovering around the 24-degree celsius mark.
Lajong now have 32 points from 22 matches and are aiming for a top-five finish. A victory over East Bengal has given Churchill the advantage vis-a-vis Mohammedan Sporting in their tussle for avoiding relegation.
It didn’t look like the match would end in disappointment for Mohammedan Sporting after Ashim had headed in a Basant Singh cross in the fifth minute to give them the lead. Being reduced to 10 men did come as a blow for the Calcutta giants, but Lajong’s super show, especially Glen and Brazilian Uilliams Souza Silva, also dented their hopes.
The 31-year-old Glen, who played for Trinidad and Tobago in the 2006 World Cup and has 66 international caps, troubled the Mohammedan Sporting defence repeatedly with his opportunistic runs and deft movements.
Despite his brilliance, both teams’ defence were to be blamed for letting in the goals. There was no snatching or blocking in the midfield, allowing the forwards to walk unchallenged in to the penalty box.
For Mohammedan Sporting, Joshimar was the most dangerous, but he was also guilty of wasting at least two gilt-edged opportunities.
To top it all, Luciano Sabrosa wasted a penalty when the scores were tied 3-3.
Glen equalised through a penalty and Subash made it 2-1 in the 30th minute. Six minutes later, Joshimar placed it on a platter from a melee for Penn to make it 2-2.
Glen’s right footed volley made it 3-2 for Lajong in the closing stages of the first half. Mohammedan Sporting came back strongly in the opening minute after the break with Joshimar solo effort fetching them the equaliser.
But Lajong were not to bogged down. They raided the rival territory time and again and regained the lead in the 69th minute through Subash’s volley following a Uilliams free-kick.
Glen made it 5-3 six minutes later from a corner. Penn did reduce the margin, but the equaliser remained elusive for Mohammedan Sporting.
Lajong FC: Lalthuammawia Ralte, Minchol Son, Robin Gurung, Ongnam Milan Singh, Jibon Singh, Lalchhuanmawaia Fanai, Boithang Haokip, Taisuke Matsugae, Subash Singh, Cornell Glen, Uilliams Souza Silva (Lalramluaha Hmar, 82).
Mohammedan Sporting: Luis Baretto, Phoolchand Hembram, Luciano Sabrosa, Mehrajuddin Wadoo, R. Dhanarajan, Rakesh Masih, Manish Maithani, Penn Orji, Basant Singh (L. Ashok Singh, 15), Ashim Biswas (Taro Hasegawa, 68), Joshimar.
Referee: Rahul D’Sa
MoM: Cornell Glen