Calcutta: After inspiring performances in their first two matches, Mohammedan Sporting are back to their familiar ‘best’.
An insipid display, particularly in the first session, cost them Monday’s CFL Championship Round game as Army XI beat them 2-1, at the Barasat Stadium.
Goals from Shadip Rai and Jain P. helped the armymen record their third victory in as many matches of this round. For Mohammedan Sporting, substitute Somide Adelaja reduced the margin via penalty.
The game, meanwhile, was held up for around five minutes as match officials objected to Mohammedan Sporting top official Qamaruddin’s presence at the technical area when his name was not mentioned in the team list.
After a lot of arguments, Qamaruddin eventually had his way out as the team doctor’s slot in the list was struck off and replaced by that of an official.
A non-functional midfield, together with a completely disorganised defence not just enabled Army XI take a two-goal cushion in the first half, but also was the main reason behind Mohammedan Sporting’s defeat.
Coach S.P. Shaji’s wards went ahead in the 24th minute, thanks to the rival defenders who allowed him all the time in the world to unleash a left-footer from the edge of the box that went in despite a deflection.
Army XI: Sharat Narayan; Anthony Chetri, Rojen Meitei, Dileep, Vibin T.V.; Santu Subba (Suresh, 61), Francis, Shadip Rai (D.K. Mahato, 86), Sanal; Arjun Tudu, Jain P. (Jotin Singh, 69)
Mohammedan Sporting: Arnab Das Sharma; Harpreet Bedi, Sunil Kumar, Ugochukwu Godswill, Sukhdev Murmu; Waseem Raja (Joston Pereira, 79), Phoolchand Hembram, Basanta Singh, Irfan Khan (Bijoy Maddi, 46); Ashim Biswas, Alfred Jaryan (Somide Adelaja, 45+5)
MoM: Shadip Rai
Referee: Uttam Sarkar