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Relegated, but not losing hope

Calcutta: Mohammedan Sporting have decided to appeal to the All India Football Federation (AIFF) against Dempo SC fielding Tolgay Ozebe in their I-League match. Dempo won via Tolgay’s goal.

Churchill’s 2-1 victory over Salgaocar in Margao on Monday ensured Mohammedan Sporting finish last in the table, but their fate will hinge on the outcome of the appeal.

“We’ll move the AIFF appeals committee. How can a player, who had been with us in the current season, play against us? The transfer was okayed after it was decided that Tolgay wouldn’t play against Mohammedan Sporting,” said a Mohammedan Sporting official.

“We could have fielded Rakesh Masih against Salgaocar, but never did it… Certain norms have to be followed.”

Mohammedan Sporting’s initial appeal was turned down by the AIFF, but on Monday they decided to move the appeals committee again. If there’s no positive result, they’ll go for arbitration, and if needed, the club will move court.

If the appeal is upheld, Mohammedan Sporting will gain three points.

Coach Sanjoy Sen, however, felt the players had to take some of the responsibility for the disaster. “We are also responsible for this… Had we played to our abilities, we wouldn’t have to go through this.”

Coming back to the Churchill match, an own goal from Augustine Fernandes had put last year’s champions ahead, but Salgaocar hit back through Darryl Duffy.

Needing a win to save relegation, Churchill got the result they were hunting for all along as Balwant Singh scored the match-winner in the 65th minute.

Salgaocar Football Club fielded their best possible squad with all four foreign players but they went down after just five minutes.

Nigerian defender Chika Wali was adjudged to have brought down Jaison Vales inside the danger zone and referee Rahul D’Sa lost no time in pointing at the dreaded spot.

Salgaocar players protested but the referee stuck to his guns. Goalkeeper Karanjit Singh saved Anthony Wolfe’s resultant penalty kick but Churchill still had a moment to laugh after Salgaocar defender Augustine Fernandes turned the rebound into his own goal.