| Ghulam Rahim Nabi (left), who scored Mohammedan Sporting’s second goal, is con- gratulated by Dipendu Biswas at Salt Lake Stadium on Friday. Picture by Santosh Ghosh
Calcutta: Mohammedan Sporting survived a late Bhratri Sangha charge before scrambling to a 2-1 victory in a CFL Super Division match at the Salt Lake Stadium on Friday.
Khemtang Paite put Mohammedan Sporting ahead in the 22nd minute and Ghulam Rahim Nabi made it 2-0 soon after the change of sides. The black-and-white brigade, sitting pretty on a comfortable lead, then reclined into complacency, allowing Shyam Babu Raut to strike an 80th-minute spoiler as Bhratri Sangha tightened their noose around the rival box.
In the end, however, lack of finishing by their forwards denied the Super Division debutants a draw, if not a win.
The victory promoted Mohammedan Sporting to the top of the league with 19 points from seven matches. They will meet defending champions Mohun Bagan on August 29 and East Bengal on September 3 in their last two matches of the first leg. Bhratri, on the other hand, have just five points from seven matches.
A strong Mohammedan midfield soon took over and rendered their opponents’ ninth-minute sortie to just a flash in the pan. Paite, Nabi and Arunava Sarkar stomped around the pitch in absolute dominance and provided Abdulateef Seriki and Dipendu Biswas with a number of opportunities in the attacking third.
The Bhratri defence paid no heed to the early warnings until it was broken apart in the 22nd minute. Nabi passed to Seriki and the Nigerian delivered it to into the path of an advancing Paite at the far end. Paite made no mistake in placing it past the goalkeeper.
Three minutes into the second half, Mohammedan extended their lead, riding Nabi’s individual brilliance. The former Tata Football Academy graduate received the ball near the box, sprinted ahead after dodging past Ranjan Dey, his sole challenger, and then pushed the ball into the open to the left of advancing Raj Narayan. Nabi slotted in from an acute angle near the touchline.
Shyam Babumet with success that was the culmination of a brilliant move. Babun Kar moved up to send a goalmouth cross from right. Mohammedan defender Insan Ali jumped to challenge Prakash Kolay, but the ball rolled into the path of Shyam Babu, whose low left-footer gave Prasanta no chance to react.
Mohammedan Sporting: Prasanta Dora; Reazul Mustafa, Insan Ali, Hossain Mustafi, Amandeep Singh; Habeeb Adekunle, Khemtang Paite (Amit Das, 60th), Ghulam Rahim Nabi, Arunava Sarkar (Bhuvan Joshi, 65th), Dipendu Biswas, Abdulateef Seriki (Amzad Ansari, 69th).
Bhratri Sangha: Raj Narayan Mukherjee; Babun Kar, Madhav Das (Goutam Debnath, 54th), Shankar Das, Riyadh Mohammed, Palash Karmakar, Ranjan Dey (Prakash Kolay, 72ht), Dipankar Chatterjee (Prasenjit Das, 58th), Dipankar Biswas; Amaechi, Shyam Babu Raut.
Referee: Arup Chakraborty.