| Mohun Baganís George Ekeh fights for the ball with Mohammedan Sportingís Habeeb Adekunle at the Salt Lake Stadium Saturday. Picture by Santosh Ghosh
Calcutta, Sept. 28: Mohammedan Sporting completed the comeback trail by ensuring a place at the CFL Super League play-off final as they held defending champions Mohun Bagan to a goalless draw at the Salt Lake Stadium on Saturday.
With the draw, Mohammedan Sporting ended on 28 points, two short of leaders East Bengal. Mohun Bagan had to be content with 26. It was a gutsy defensive display by the Mohammedan Sporting team as their opponents pressed right from the beginning. Though, the ground was unsuitable for good soccer following the afternoon shower, Bagan took a firm grip on the match. The wily Bausdeb Mondal and Jose Ramirez Barreto initiated the attacks and often stretched the game to the wings. But a goal remained elusive.
The black-white defenders Reaj-ul-Mustafa and Hussain Mustafi fought with their backs to the wall and held the Bagan attackers at bay. Their custodian Prasanta Dora also was brilliant under bar.
Mohun Bagan can rue having been denied a penalty when Barreto was pulled back by a Mohammedan Sporting defender inside the box.
In the 74th minute, after Bagan left-back Lolendra Singh gifted a ball to Rahim Nabi, the right-half cut in and took a lob which struck the cross-piece and went out. Mohammedan Sporting were denied again when Arjan Aliís shot off an Amjad Ansari pass struck the cross-piece.
Mohun Baganís best chance came in the eighth minute when Lolendra set up a ball from the left, but an unmarked Barreto headed out from close distance.
Mohammedan Sporting: Prasanta Dora; Reaj-ul-Mustafa, Insan Ali, Hussain Mustafi, Biswanath Mondal; Rahim Nabi, Amit Das (Arunava Sarkar, 46), Habeeb Adekunle, Khemtang Paite (Arjan Ali, 46); Abdulateef Seriki, Dipendu Biswas (Amjad Ansari, 71).
Mohun Bagan: Bivash Ghosh; Kajol Bhattacharya, Dulal Biswas, Lolendra Singh, Santosh Singh; Basudeb Mondal, George Ekeh, Jayanta Sen, Gourav Dutta (Umesh Sharma, 88), Jose Ramirez Barreto, Sunil Chettri (Tarif Ahmed, 63/ Amar Ganguly, 80).
Referee: Chittadas Majumdar.